Moin, Moin, as the people of Hamburg say. And “Aloha Rotary” were the parting words as I hugged and said goodbye to my new friends and some old bonds in the Rotaract Pre-convention. Being a part of the Pre-con I was not only encouraged to make new friends from all around the world, but also had an opportunity to learn more about Rotaract, and above all, I captured every moment and was inspired to learn and understand how the entire world is celebrating Rotaract in diverse ways.
The journey began with a proposal from our Rotary Coordinators Rajendra Rai and Ashok Gupta of Zones 4 and 6A, and Zone 5 who, at the training workshop Spoorthy held early this year, that they will sponsor the air fare of the Best DRR in their zones to attend the Convention. Soon, this thought changed into a plan and I was selected as the best DRR for Zone 4 and 6A. In no time everything worked out and I was there, standing at the Hamburg Messe, lugging my bags and holding enthusiasm in my heart.
And everywhere I turned, all I could see were Rotary flags; the airport had Rotary advertisements, 7 out of 10 people I saw had Rotary badges around their necks and it was an exhilarating experience.
I was not only encouraged to make new friends from around the world, but also had an opportunity to learn more about Rotaract.
I felt connected and at home in that city. I stayed at a hostel organised by Rotary. I made friends from all over the world, and within a few minutes I was in a group where people from Jamaica, Germany, Spain and Mexico, all came in one frame. This was the best part of the pre-con where Rotaractors from different religions and diverse views came down under one umbrella and spoke one language — the language of Rotary — making new bonds, uniting nations and living up to the Rotaract motto — Fellowship through Service.
The opening ceremony of the Pre-con was witnessed by more than 1,000 Rotaractors from all over the world. This time we had a special dedicated table with an Indian flag. This was the first convention with maximum Rotaractors from India. During the roll call, picking up the Indian flag and cheering for our country made us feel so proud and gave us goosebumps.
During the general session we waved our national flag with pride as our part of the world has the maximum number of Rotaract clubs. Around 1,064 Rotaract clubs were opened in the year 2018–19 out of which India was the highest contributor by chartering 414 clubs in one year and US, came second with 98 clubs during the year. That really made us so proud and energised.
The breakout sessions provided answers to several of my unanswered questions about Rotaract. I understood more about TRF, Foundation grants, Rotaract and Rotary connect, DRR training and Rotaract Outstanding Project awards.
Another lesson from the pre-convention was that it’s not always how much you do but how well you do it that matters.
There were some brilliant projects displayed in a glittering space titled ‘House of Friendship (HOF)’. It was a massive and grand exhibition where stalls were set up to display major change- making projects, to make the world aware about the contributions and the good that Rotary and Rotaract are doing to make the world a better place.
This experience was unique, and all I have to say before I conclude my thoughts, is that one should visit at least one Rotary Convention in their Rotaract Journey. It will be an experience worth remembering, worth sharing and it will inspire you to do much better service projects. To be inspired is great but to inspire someone with your experience and bring a positive change in their life is incredible.
And I am now eagerly waiting to see you in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 2020 where we will greet each other with an Aloha. Until then, Namaste.
The writer is DRR of RID 3011.