Posted by Editor: FDBobko on Jun 03, 2020
May 28,  2020
Steve Carlson,  Past President - Rotary Club of San Carlos
 Global Grant - Water Project in Morocco 
Article by Bill Johnston
Screen Shots by Dianne Bobko
President elect Mary introduced our speaker. Steve Carlson is a past president of the San Carlos Rotary club where he is known as the Earl of Sandwiches. He spoke to us about a water project which he and his club pulled off in Morocco.
Steve served in the Peace Corps doing health and sanitation work in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. During the mid-90s he lived there for about 3 years in a small village called Ait Daoud. The village is quite remote. Access was by dirt road which wasn't always open. The village did not have electricity or running water. He gave us a little bit of basic geography information. Morocco is in the northwest corner of Africa just across from Spain. The big cities are Marrakesh, Casablanca and Rabat.
After the Peace Corps, he came back and went to law school, got married, had kids and got a mortgage. Today he is an intellectual property lawyer. He said that he still had the Peace Corps itch. So apparently, he joined Rotary to scratch that itch. He has had 5 "Rubens for Rotary" fundraisers to raise money for this project. He makes the cheeses and sausages from scratch and, apparently, puts the event on in his backyard. In 2015 he asked the people from the village where he had served 20 years earlier "what do you need". And the answer was they wanted to line their agricultural ditch with concrete. The villages is high in the Atlas Mountains. They have orchards and fields which they irrigate with water drawn from a river in a gorge a couple of miles away. Historically, the river is diverted into a ditch and then the farmers divert the ditch to flood their fields. Obviously, significant water is lost by way of percolation into the soil.
EDITOR'S NOTE:  To view pictures and read about the complete project as presented by Steve, click on "Read More"
San Carlos Rotary club applied for a Global Grant. They had raised about $50,000 selling sandwiches. They were able to leverage that through the Rotary grant to fund a $200,000 project. The San Carlos Rotary club project consisted of 3 segments each 500 m in length. The aqueduct which they constructed allows farmers to simply open a gate to divert water into their fields. Because the water is flowing through a sluice, it moves much faster and consequently they are able to water the fields in an hour or 2 instead of 5 or 6 hours. Once Rotary started on its project, the Moroccan government stepped in and built a similar section of aqueduct upstream from the Rotary project. The San Carlos endeavor is under budget, the first 2 segments have been completed and they are halfway through the 3rd segment. The plan is to use some of the excess funds to extend the aqueduct farther downstream. The Rotary club of Redwood City has committed to completing the last segment of the aqueduct.
To complete the project the Rotary club of San Carlos had to partner with a Moroccan club. The district governor there suggested Marrakesh Majorelle, which is an all women Rotary club. "Women get things done". 
There were challenges along the way. Obviously, a project like this requires buy-in from the locals. This project served 3 villages and at one point the dissension between the villages was such that Steve had to threaten to just shut the project down and give the money back. He got past that, but the first contractor flaked out. Steve said they got lucky in that the 2nd contractor has been a dream to work with.
Steve was very compelling. It seems pretty obvious that this project occurred and is a success because of his passion. This was a very inspiring presentation and we need more like this.
MAY 28, 2020 - Club Meeting
The May 28, 2020 online club meeting began with Ginger leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance.
President Ed then announced that he would be leaving the meeting early because he was scheduled to pick up a pallet (400 or 500 pounds) of donated See’s chocolate. This is bulk packaged candy that the stores put out in their displays. An unfortunate limitation is that we are prohibited from selling it. Past President Liz subsequently posted pictures of this gargantuan pile of candy, and she is soliciting ideas for how we might distribute it. Obvious thoughts included our local charities that are distributing food and gifting to first responders. Perhaps we might be able to incorporate the candy into a fundraiser where the candy is not sold but is otherwise used to generate income. Liz suggested hosting a wine and chocolate tasting.
Past President Stacy shared that she had a box of 50 masks, and she solicited suggestions for where she might donate them. Along those same lines, President Ed advised the District Governor had given him black cloth masks with the Rotary logo to distribute to the club membership.
President Elect Mary reported regarding the distribution of the DDF funds. You will recall that one half of the money which we as a club donate every year to the Rotary foundation comes back to us 3 years later in the form of district designated funds which we can apply to a local project. Based upon the polling of the club by President Ed, Mary will be writing a grant application seeking to apply 60% of the funds to the Coastside Hope sundries project and 40% to the AbundantGrace project to create a welcoming area. Total available funds were between 6 and $7000.
John Evans reported that the high school held a virtual Scholarship Night and that 6 of our Interactors were awarded $250 grants. These grants were funded from the proceeds of the Spin Art booth that the interactors operate during the Pumpkin Festival.