Josefina (Josie) Lopez (holding banner), Fort Fairfield Rotary Club member, recently traveled to Guatemala, Central America, to take part in a Rotary World Service Project (WSP). Lopez joined fellow Rotarians from Duluth, Minnesota, in building a multipurpose room and sports court at the La Curvina School in Monterrico, Guatemala. The Rotarians also provided the local population with over 450 toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes, a portion of which were donated by local dentist Dr. Donald Cassidy.

Lopez’s trip had its genesis in the desire of several regional Rotary Clubs, which support many local community projects, to develop a joint WSP. To this end, the Caribou, Fort Fairfield, Limestone, Mars Hill, Presque Isle, Washburn, and Perth-Andover, New Brunswick, Canada, Rotary Clubs are combining resources to organize such a project. Guatemala is the focus country for this project because local groups have previously performed work there.

Lopez returned from the ten-day trip to Guatemala on Wednesday, March 18. “The experience was eye-opening.  There is so much need and such good work is happening through Rotarians already, but there is so much more to do.  I am ready to share my experience with our club members and move forward on developing our project plan to go back!”  

Local Rotary Clubs members showed their support by welcoming her home at the Northern Maine Regional Airport and learning from Lopez about her experience and possible future work in Guatemala.

Presque Isle Rotarian Gina LeBlanc-Eggert, local organizing committee member, has herself visited Guatemala and knows first-hand the many needs in the country’s rural areas. “Since my trip to Guatemala, there has been a passion to assist this population of children and families and foster hope,” LeBlanc-Eggert said.  “Every day we have clean water to use and a solid roof over our head. It is not the case everywhere in this world. To be a part of an organization of people that care and can make a real difference here in our communities and elsewhere is truly incredible!”

Members of Rotary Clubs from the region will be gathering shortly to discuss Lopez’s experience and developing the project plan for the grant writing and fund-raising processes.  If you are interested in getting involved through Rotary or in another ways, please contact your local Rotary Club.

Rotary International is dedicated to community service at every scale from local to worldwide, and over the past three-quarters of a century, area Rotary clubs have taken that to heart, conducting  many local and regional projects in Aroostook County as well as providing support for international projects that have been led by other Rotary Clubs outside the region.