President's Message
Shellie Peterson
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The Pagosa Springs Rotary Club is a diverse group of engaged individuals participating through friendship and camaraderie in opportunities to serve our community and other communities around the world.
Kim Moore's Trip to Tibet with Durango Rotarians
Speaker: Kim (Globetrotter) Moore, on her trip to Tibet.
Nowhere, apparently, is there a corner of the globe where Kim Moore’s curiosity is outpaced by “cost, germs or fuss,” or perhaps anything else, other than possibly war (I don’t think she’s been to Afghanistan, but there are negotiations underway to end that conflict, so maybe that’s next year).  The “hugging diplomat” gets more use out of a passport than anyone other than possibly airline pilots! 
(Plus, Kim is not flustered by technological glitches.  When the balky slide projector showed images on end last Thursday, “tilt your head,” she suggested unflappably to the audience.)
Kim explained that her trip to Tibet was an offshoot of a Tibetan water project organized under the auspices of Rotary International by Durango Rotary.  A group from the Durango club went to visit the project site, and Kim seized the opportunity to join up with them for the trip.
Tibet sits on the northern slope of the Himalayas.  Mt. Everest rests astride its border with Nepal.  It’s capital, Lhasa, is at 8000 feet, and much of the country’s altitude is even higher – according to Wikipedia, its average elevation is 16,000 feet.  A Tibetan Empire existed in the 6th Century, but today Tibet is politically an autonomous region of China.  It was absorbed by the Chinese after an invasion mounted in the 1950’s, Kim said. 
The travelers’ jumping off point for entry to the small, mountainous country was Chengdu, China, where the group boarded a train for the 23-hour trip.  They had time beforehand, however, to visit the Center for Preservation of Pandas in Chengdu; the city evidently sits in the midst of the exotic animals’ range.
According to Kim, Tibet’s population numbers between four to five million, mostly farmers or nomads.  She reported its citizens are subject to substantial repression by their Chinese overlords, and substantial restrictions are imposed on Tibetans’ civil freedom, including mandatory displays of fealty to Chinese leaders.
Tibet was formerly the home of the Dalai Lama, a political and religious leader banished by the Chinese, well-known today throughout the world as a humanistic and ethical holy person.  But today his home, a building of more than 1000 rooms in Lhasa known as the Portola, is a tourist attraction.
But religion is nonetheless freely practiced.  Tibetans, Kim reported, are primarily devout Buddhists.  The country is home to 4700 monasteries, and statues of Buddha in all sizes, shapes, expressions and appearances are ubiquitous.  The large population of monks shave their heads, Kim told us, to avoid dwelling on appearance and keep their lives simple.  (Dave Richardson spontaneously endorsed the wisdom of their choice.)    
In addition to monasteries, substantial public displays of “prayer flags,” are common throughout Tibet, with elaborate formations of flags in shapes like large pin-wheels or bulls-eyes set-up by monks on mountainsides.  And pilgrims are a frequent sight at monasteries, Kim reported, rotating “prayer-wheels” in pursuit of inner peace as they circle the structures on foot.
Yaks, appearing similar to large, shaggy-coated goats, are everywhere in Tibet, and are frequently seen grazing even at high altitude in the mountains.  Tibetan culture revolves around the animal, Kim said.  Yak meat is a common food, and yak dung is a common fuel.
Another common food is a bread-like loaf called Sampa, made out of barley flour.  For a beverage, Kim extolled the lemon-ginger-honey tea she was served.
Kim and others in her group visited a Mt. Everest base camp, at 18,000 feet altitude.  The route to the camp was a tortuous ascent up a road of endless switchbacks over three mountain passes.  Great motorcycling, it appeared, except Kim reported the conditions were cold and windy.  She rented a Chinese Army parka for use in the daytime, and used five quilts to keep warm at night.
What about bathrooms, Kim was asked.  Squatters only, she recalled for the most part, except in handicap facilities.  Ever adaptable, Kim made the obvious choice for comfort, when possible.
Kim also reported that street vendors plying the trade of ear-cleaning, are common in Tibet.  She recommended the practice to all, as It clarifies your brain (or so she claimed).
And yes, Kim reported, there was at least one long and heartfelt hug shared along the way.  Never fear, the hugging diplomat is always ready!
News & Happenings
Danish was served!  But not pastry: the invocation was delivered by exchange student Theo Bonlokke in his native language.  Theo followed-up with an English interpretation for the benefit of those who don’t know their Danish beyond picking apricot or raspberry, including your reporter and probably just about everybody else in the room.  It went something like the following: “To make earth a better place, be better humans, ja!”  (In any language, that seems to hit the nail on the head.)
Jessie Formwalt then stepped up once again to provide harmonious vocal delights, leading the group in “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain.”
Visitors included the omni-present Kenny Rogers (although sans a hat), who reported that Pagosa Mountain Rotary’s project to provide solar panels for an elementary school in Puerto Rico, had reached full funding, and installation of the panels is expected soon.
Guests included Lisa Scott’s son, Spence, home from Hofstra University on Long Island, where he is a senior.
Carrie Weiss then solicited volunteers to take over the lottery temporarily, while she and John take their annual RV adventure.
President Shellie Peterson then asked for volunteers to stuff envelopes after the meeting, to send out forms to donors documenting their donations during the year for use on 2018 tax returns.  Shellie’s appeal having been lodged, Jo Bridges interjected a comment on Shellie’s computer prowess, which she reported had enormously facilitated the process of addressing the envelopes to mail the notices. (Jo said something about a merge, which I always thought was done on the highway coming out of Walmart, but apparently Jo had some more exotic skill in mind – she didn’t explain, but considering her audience, it would have been wasted breath.)
The next order of business was a celebration of Theo’s 17th birthday, with singing of the traditional song and a birthday cake and candles.  Theo reported that cakes are included in birthday celebrations in Denmark, but he didn’t mention candles.  (He was not able to blow-out all 17 candles on his cake when bidden, so perhaps that is not part of the Danish birthday ritual, and he was taken by surprise.)
Sunshine and Showers ensued, but few ventured to share their thoughts.  The Mistress of Ceremonies, Betty Switzer, herself offered gratitude that her “testable hypothesis” question to Dave Smith of last week was little noted in the Bulletin, and your reporter responded by likewise expressing thanks for the abundant copy Betty routinely provides.  Carrie offered a scholarship donation to encourage a lottery pinch-hitter in her absence, and Kim Moore expressed appreciation for the wonderful ceremony last weekend in honor of Larry Olin.
Shellie then introduced our speaker by inviting all to join a trip to Tibet, without “cost, germs or fuss,” a/k/a, vicariously, courtesy of the recollections of one not so faint of heart.
January is Vocational Service Month

As leaders in their businesses and professions, Rotarians can advance high ethical standards by setting a positive example among colleagues and in their community. Here are a few specific ways Rotarians integrate ethics into their daily work life:

• Discuss and emphasize honesty, accountability, fairness, integrity, and respect when hiring, training, and supervising employees
• Praise and encourage the exemplary behavior of colleagues
• Demonstrate personal commitment to high ethical standards in relations with customers, vendors, and business associates, treating each business interaction with care and
• Promote socially and environmentally responsible practices in your businesses and organizations

The Rotary Service newsletter, a free bi-monthly e-publication, keeps Rotarians informed about how they can offer
their professional skills to Rotary projects, support the professional development of individuals and communities in
need, and represent and promote Rotary values in the workplace. Subscribe at


The Rotary Service blog features posts on service and engagement, including quarterly ethical dilemma
discussions, resources, best practices, success stories, and lessons learned. Subscribe at


• Join or start a conversation in a Rotary discussion group on My Rotary. The Vocational Service group discusses project ideas, shares successes, and connects members to better serve their communities.

• Find support for a club vocational service project on Rotary Ideas.

• Share your vocational service project successes on Rotary Showcase to inspire others and promote collective efforts to improve communities around the world.
Bulletin Editor
Shellie Peterson
Mar 07, 2019
Rotary Serves the Community
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