May 24, 2013 by rkpcs
This morning was spent learning about the outcomes and aims of the rotary clubs in Gwang-yang. We met with three club presidents that share an office, meeting room and administrator; Heeyang Ladies Club, Choeun-iut Men’s Club and Sunshine Ladies Club. As well as sharing an office the clubs share similar projects for those in need.
They have three main aims;
– The support of multi-cultural families through the provision of English lessons, educational tools and occasional financ,
– Educational bursaries for those showing a will an aptitude to learn but without the finances to do so (families pay for all education after the age of thirteen) and
– Provision of food and support for the elderly as the social welfare system is still in development.
Following this enlightening meeting we carried on to Gokseong Train Village and Rose Festival. We learned how a huge, ten day, world famous festival with thousands of roses is put on with a total staff of thirty people. Over a thousand types of roses (including some old faithful British varieties) were displayed using techniques learned on an ‘educational visit’ to Germany. Not only did the gardens look and smell beautiful but they are a welcome sight to many Koreans who use any outside space that they have to grow food crops. An aesthetic garden is not an option is such a self-sustaining community.
In addition we travelled on a steam train and saw how retired carriages and lines can be recycled into a useful and entertaining second life. The former tracks are now used to provide rail bike rides which are great fun for all of the family and the old carriages have become unique accommodation for short breaks and shady waiting rooms which were well needed today as the weather topped 30 degrees.
The team did not think that the day could get any better ….. and then ….. we were taken to an all nationality buffet. The excitement that a slice of pizza can bring to this foursome is indescribable.