Please join us for our second annual gourmet extravanganza, Reubens for Rotary 2017. This is our all-artisanal smorgasbord for Rotary’s good work around the world, in particular our water project to build an aqueduct for Berber villages in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains.
We are working in tandem with the Rotary Club of Marrakesh to improve the irrigation system and drinking water in a series of villages in Morocco’s Ouarzazate province, where San Carlos Rotarian Steve Carlson previously served in the Peace Corps. This is our effort to return their hospitality and goodwill, consistent with Rotary’s goals of promoting health and prosperity around the world.
This event is hosted at the home of Steve and Suzanne Carlson, in the San Carlos Hills. It is a great place for a party. Last year we had over 140 attendees, including the former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco, and the head of non-governmental organization Corps Africa, another of our partners in this project. We raised over $17,000. Here’s a video collage of the event.
This will feature home-cultured cheeses, home-cured pastrami, home-smoked salmon, home-baked breads, home-fermented kraut, etc. Wheels of parmesan and asiago cheeses are aging away. Plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. The beef came courtesy of Steve Carlson’s law partner in Texas, Paul Zoeller, who slaughtered a cow for the event
We hope you can join us. Save the date!
When? Sunday June 4, 2017, 3 pm to 7 pm
Where? Home of Steve and Suzanne Carlson
3126 La Mesa Drive, San Carlos
The Rotary Club of San Carlos is proceeding to formalize its water project in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, in collaboration with its partners the Rotary Club of Marrakesh – Majorelle and Corps Africa-Morocco. The first phase of the project will be an improved aqueduct for irrigation of the fields in the rugged and beautiful Ait Zekri region of Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains.
Thank you all who have contributed to the High Atlas project of the San Carlos Rotary Club. Through our Reubens for Rotary fundraiser in June, we raised over $17,000. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! We have been making good headway toward the water project we are planning.
The area we are targeting for our water project is the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, where San Carlos Rotarian Steve Carlson served in the Peace Corps. The village, called Ait Daoud, is in the province of Ourzazate, above the town of El Kelaa Mgouna. If you see pictures of Marrakesh, with snow-capped mountains in the background, Ouarzazate province is on the far side of those mountains. It is the edge of the Sahara desert, and is a fabulously rugged and beautiful place.
The region obtains much of its water from snowmelt from the mountains. When Steve lived there, there was no electricity nor piped water. Child mortality was very high, in the range of 30-40%. Drinking water was either obtained from a system of irrigation ditches, or from wells or springs. None of the water was treated. The ultimate goal of our project is to bring clean drinking water to that village.
We are pursuing this project with two other organizations at this time — Rotary Club of Marrakesh-Majorelle, and Corps Africa-Morocco. The Rotary Club of Marrakesh has recently completed a water piping project in another region of the High Atlas Mountains. We were put in touch with that group through the Rotary network, and identified Khadija El-Bourkadi as our counterpart. While initial discussions with her were in Steve’s broken French, eventually she coyly revealed that she has a bachelor’s degree in English literature. Coordination with her has been a lot easier ever since!
Shortly after our event, Corps Africa-Morocco sent one of their members, Aziz Noujoum, to visit Ait Daoud. He found Steve’s former Berber host, Si Abderahmen Ait Tazarine, and they surveyed the water situation. Here is a photo of the well from which the people get their drinking water:
and a photo of the irrigation ditch that provides water for their fields:
In on-going discussions with people from Ait Daoud, the immediate priority we have identified is to line the irrigation ditch with concrete. This will provide increased volume of water to the fields, to avoid loss of water by absorption through the ground. The irrigation ditch is about 4 kilometer (2 miles) long. Here is a photo of an example that we would likely follow, using pre-fab concrete slabs to reinforce the irrigation ditch:
Once that irrigation ditch is reinforced to increase water for their fields, then we expect to turn our attention to drinking water. For example, we may lay a water pipe alongside the concrete, to run water from a distant spring to the school of Ait Daoud. We have in mind installing a SunSpring water purification system next to the school, where a water bottling operation could be begun. This could not only provide a source of clean water for all the people in the village, it could also be a commercial enterprise. So we look forward to this as a likely “Step 2” once the irrigation ditch is improved.
Steve will be traveling with his family to Morocco at the end of the year. He will be speaking at the Rotary Club of Marrakesh on December 28. Members of Corps Africa will be attending as well. The next day they will travel to Ouarzazate province for the site inspection. The goal will be to coordinate with the local villagers, to firm up the technical plan for the project, and to get a budget for the full project. Thereafter we hope to file an application for a Global Grant with Rotary International, with the Rotary Club of Marrakesh as our partner in Morocco.
Plans (and cooking) are underway for Reubens for Rotary 2017. This will be Sunday, June 4. Steve has already set up a wheel of parmesan cheese, to start the culinary extravaganza. We hope you can join us.
Meanwhile, donations are always welcome. We welcome your generosity. Please click on the Donate button below. And thank you, thank you, thank you, for all your support. We are working hard to put your contributions to work!
I wanted to thank you for being part of our Atlas Mountains project. The Reubens for Rotary party was a tremendous success. We had about 140 attendees and raised over $16K for our project. I am just thrilled with the support. I hope you had a good time and some good food.
Now we’re moving onto to the work in Morocco. We are working closely with Corps Africa-Morocco, which is the group founded by Liz Fanning, who spoke at our event. One of the Corps-Africa personnel will be traveling to my old village next week in the province of Ouarzazate. He will do a site assessment and learn the current status of the drinking water situation there. We will evaluate a number of different options for drinking water improvement projects there, including the potential installation of a SunSpring purification system there (in tandem with Jon Kaufman of H2OpenDoors, who also spoke at the event). And I’ll be reconnecting with my Berber family after 20 years, which is neat on a personal level.
Additionally, Corps Africa has existing projects on-going near the Marrakesh area. There are three volunteers currently stationed in the High Atlas Mountains outside Marrakesh. One of those Corps Africa sites is the village of Tizi Zeguaght, which is the service site for Mourad Adbdennebi, who joined our party from Morocco via the Periscope app. We collected water samples from his village the other week and are waiting on laboratory analyses to determine an appropriate project there. We will also be evaluating project proposals from the volunteers who are currently stationed there, as those proposals are submitted later this summer.
The Rotary Club of Marrakesh will also be participating in these projects as we move forward.
Thank you again for your support, and stand by for more updates. If you by chance have plans to travel to Morocco, let me know and I’d be glad to offer some suggestions.
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Calling all runners, big, small, fast or slow. This year’s Hometown Days Rotary Club of San Carlos Fun Run is Sunday May 22 at 8:30 in Burton Park next to the Youth Center. You can sign up at Race Roster or show up starting at 7:00 am to register on site.
The Pancake Breakfast will be served starting at 9am in left field of the baseball diamond.
If cannot attend but would like to donate to the Pancake Breakfast, please click on this button.