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Serving with Rotary brings joy to my life
From Rotary Voices, May 11, 2017
By Jack Bechaud, Rotary Club of
Lake in the Hills, Illinois, USA
If you would have told me a few
years ago that I’d be lugging 15 bags of cement in the high mountains of Cusco,
Peru, to help local villagers, I would not have believed you.
It sounds a little cliché, but
Rotary has helped me come so far, in so many ways. It’s helped me grow as a
person in ways I never thought possible. It’s brought joy back to my life.
Rotarian Jack Bechaud takes time to hug a
This was my second service trip
with the Rotary Club of Lake in the Hills, Illinois, within a short period of
time. Traveling so far away from home with many hours in a plane and airports
is not necessarily my idea of a good time. Further, having what seems like just
come back from an amazing trip to India and new friends there, not to mention
the incredible work we did, then turning around and getting on more planes
might seem crazy to some of you.
But I can tell you it’s totally
worth it! Seeing people who have nothing makes you appreciate everything. Being
able to learn from them and learn that your project is going to be duplicated
in other pueblos as a success story is beyond belief. Working in very hard
conditions at high altitude with our Rotarians friends here at the Rotary
Club Julio J. Delgado Cusco and our own
members creates a bond like no other.
Travel stress, miles and miles
and miles of narrow mountain roads, seeing our Indian Rotarians comment on our
work here and our Peruvian Rotarians comment on work we did in India — builds
life long relations and bridges. Not walls. (Although we actually are building
walls for buildings,) It’s the gift you give to others that gives back to you.
Rotary is not what I thought
it was. It’s so much better, and so much more.
One day, I carried 15 bags of
concrete on my shoulders, dug a trench three feet deep by three feet wide,
wired parts of the building for electricity, drank more water than I ever
thought possible, and pumped more blood than my heart even thought possible
while breathing. In mountain air at altitudes higher than the alpacas that roam
here. My body ached, but my heart was full, and even though it’s beyond my
ability to convey what this is like, I hope some of the pictures show a glimpse
of what we are doing.
All in all, I have my luggage, clean
clothes and health and next to that everything else is a bonus.
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