The peripatetic Mark Pickering, a past president, led us on a journey through overseas service before receiving his Paul Harris Sapphire Pin!!
Mark demonstrated how passion and connections can make all the difference in delivering ambitious projects that can transform a community. An example is working with Makati South Rotary in Manila to drill 19 deepwater wells to provide clean water for 6800 people in 2000 families. In combination with the Rotary Club of Wellington, where Mark was formerly a member, and a German club, $US10,800 was raised. 
  An application was then made to the Rotary Foundation, which contributed 50c for every dollar. The district designated fund then matched the total. Then it was back to the Rotary Foundation which matched the new total, making a grand sum of $50,200. Mark said Port Nich was very savvy in accessing funds and had been greatly assisted by member Mike Selvadurai in the latest project. 
  Mark’s first overseas connection was in 2003 with a project in the Fijian village of Koropita to build three houses replacing slum dwellings. In 2007 he took part in a similar project replacing slums with new houses in Makati South in Manila. In 2010 it was back to Koropita to build four more houses, adding to 180 built in the first stage.
  Chyangba in Nepal was the focus in 2012, led by Peter Whittington and Rotarians from Colorado. That saw the building of a school, which was destroyed in the 2015 earthquake and has since been rebuilt. Smoke free stoves for Chyangba were the focus in 2014 and last year it was restoration of the village’s water supply after the quake destroyed pipes.   A total of $13,000 was raised and a trickle of water has been restored to 3.7 litres a second. Another $37,000 was raised from various Rotary clubs to rehouse 12 families, 20 percent of the village.
Mark said the hallmarks of successful international projects were compelling need; intelligent response; connection and relationships; record keeping and financial controls; feedback and reporting.
  “Oh yes, Port Nicholson is making a difference,” he concluded.
  He was then presented with a Paul Harris Fellow Sapphire Pin by Howard Tong on behalf of the club in appreciation of his considerable contributions.
·          *      *    *
In the preceding sergeant’s session, members were subjected to a short-winded exposition on flatulence that was not just hot air. Mike Selvadori advised that it had been established that women in fact expelled more internal gas throughout the day than men did. And that is why they wear perfume. We look forward to the next marketing campaign from  Chanel.
“New formula Number 9. Now with added flatulence override.”