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Tour du monde en autostop - Jeremy Marie

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 Travel Diary : 100 000 kilometers to share (2nd part)

 If you are following me from the beginning of the trip or even if you get there in the middle, you can´t have miss the times when I was witnessing some world issues.

AIDS in Africa, the lack of means for education in Latin America, the hunger in the world… I could write a book about all the basic needs that are not covered. This is sad but don´t believe that no one feels concerned…

There is different kind of organizations that are doing their best to improve the daily life of some populations. The biggest difficulties are often to identify the problem, then to consider solutions and finally to collect enough money to succeed to organize a way to do it.

In Tanzania, I had witnessed a delivering of mosquito nets from a NGO. They were previously doing an explanation about how it technically worked.

Often, if a problem is known but not resolved, it means that there isn´t the financial means to help for it. It can come from different reasons that we won´t study very deeply, but amongst them, you sometimes have politic problems… Let´s look at all those corruptions stories in Africa for example, where the people in charge are putting in their pockets the money normally destined to the development. Unfortunately, this is always the people in need that are the victims… Let´s quote for example Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe because that is something happening now.

In another side, it does exist some government that don´t hesitate to exploit intensively the resources of other country, often just for their unique personal glory. Let´s remember the kind Leopold II who was exploiting without limit the resources of bungee in Central Africa at the end of the XIXth century.
Then, you also have the natural drama, like recently in Haiti.

A help coming from the outside is welcome and even necessary during a time of crisis. The best sources are often coming from generous donators generally localized in wealthier countries. It is like a way to redistribute the resources. Unfortunately, only few people know that the superficial things that they are consuming could be use to save life.

During my journey, I had the opportunity to meet the members of a worldwide known organization: the Rotary Club. You have without doubt heard or seen this kind of sculpture looking like a wheel at the entrance of your city or village. This logo means that you have a Rotary Club in the place where you live. You can go to visit them those next days to come. You too can change the world!

The logo of the Rotary Club

 

The Rotary Club

What is the Rotary Club ?

According to the website of the Rotary Club, this one is defining himself as:
«Rotary International is the world's first service club organization, with more than 1.2 million members in 33,000 clubs worldwide. Rotary club members are volunteers who work locally, regionally, and internationally to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and job training, promote peace, and eradicate polio under the motto Service Above Self.

I already visually knew about the Rotary before to get interested to them. Having crossed Africa and Central America, I had already seen some of the actions of the Rotary Club when I arrived in North America. The Rotary Club has been created in 1905 in Illinois in the United States. This is there that I started to go to meet their members.

Going to meet the Rotarians, like here with the President of the Rotary Club of Cleveland Lakewood

The Rotary Club has many actions to try to improve the life of many people in the world. The Rotary is for example acting to completely eradicate the polio-myelitis by delivering free vaccines  around the world. I will share with you some numbers so you can understand a little better how big was this action:

The action for eradicating polio-myelitis started in 1988. At this time, it has around 350 000 news cases every year. In 2010, there is only around 1500 cases.
Source (in French):  http://www.santedev.fr/?p=602

The actions of the Rotary are involved in different humanitarian areas, like to fight against hunger, health and education in general.

In the Rotary Club of Laval in Quebec, the Rotarians were subsidizing the studies of a young Brazilian, here easy to spot on the left on this picture

The financial or material donations are brought by the active members of the Rotary Club, called the Rotarians. Those donations are redistributed in a local, national and international way.


Why did I get in touch with them?

I introduced myself to the members of the Rotary Clubs I visited by presenting almost the same slide-show I showed in the school (the world I was talking about was the same, so the pictures were). However, I modified and adapted my vocabulary and my text according to the public.

Here I am talking to the Rotary Club of Elizabethtown in Pennsylvania

My journey leads me to meet different kind of people in different countries. Indeed, I meet as much people in the need as people much more wealthy. Amongst those wealthy people, some of them are very generous and wish to share a good part of their resources to help the first I quoted.
I think to have the opportunity in this voyage to create a connection between the people who want to share and the one who need by being the link that may miss.
I hope to be able to use the many contacts I created during those presentation to have the opportunity during my trip or in the future to use them with humanitarian issues.

In Montreal, at the end of one of the several presentations I did, the governor of district of the Rotary Club of Longueuil Rive Sud Mister Boulanger offered me the opportunity to be a Honorary Member of the Rotary Club.

Here is the official letter that has been delivered to me at this occasion

I hope now that I will be able to use this membership with respectable goals. My statute of honorary member will maybe help me to legitimate and facilitate my actions that I will undertake in a near future I hope.

Here I am with the members of the Rotaract Club of Washington DC after a presentation (the Rotaract is reserved for the young people under 30)

For more information about the Rotary Club :
http://www.rotary.org/en/Pages/ridefault.aspx

 

L´Alliance française

What is the Alliance française ?

According to the website of the Alliance française :
“What is an Alliance Française?
Each Alliance Française is a local not-for-profit organization operating autonomously with no political or religious commitments.
All Alliances Françaises work towards three essential tasks:

·         Offering French classes for all, both in France and abroad

·         Spreading awareness of French and Francophone culture

·         Promoting cultural diversity

Alliances Françaises have shared values which drive the network, acting as the basis for all their actions:

·         Respect for cultural diversity, a passion for exchanges and solidarity

·         The values of the not-for-profit sector

·         Conviviality

·         Striving for excellence in all activities undertaken

·         Modernity and innovation”

 

The Alliance française seems to me that it is an alternative solution to have a feeling of cultural environment, inside another country. It is possible for a student to come and talk in French with French expatriates, to have access to a library and a media library. Some classes are proposed by French natives or locals that had the opportunity to live in France. The Alliance française offers indeed the opportunity to learn a language and to understand a culture.

Here I am in Barranquilla in Colombia with the students of the Alliance

I think the idea is very good. Indeed, for the people who can´t travel, you still can get closer to an intercultural exchange. In the same idea, you have the opportunity in France to get to a Russian or Chinese cultural center for example.

Cultural center of China in France : http://www.cccparis.org/
Cultural center of Russia in France : http://www.russiefrance.org/

It indeed can be interesting!


Why did I get in touch with them ?

The life on the road helps me to understand some things. Amongst them, I realize that communication is a very important step to get to the understanding and then the tolerance of the other. From this fact, learning languages is a good beginning.
Until now, my situations in different countries led me, apart from French, to learn English, Spanish, and some Portuguese and German, to have more chance to be understood and to understand.

Explaining my journey in the Alliance française of Cincinnati in the United States

Still in the same spirit to share my journey, I am visiting Alliances française. My goal is to share with the students my experience about the countries I visited. Those one want to learn French. Often, they are curious about my culture, about who I am and what I do. I think that their open-mindedness is encouraging.

With the students of the Alliance française of Panama City

Curiosity, understanding and tolerance. I think that those values are important. I try to share them in every places I can go.

For more information about the Alliances françaises:
http://www.alliancefr.org/en

See you very soon,

Jeremy



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