Happy(?) Chinese New Year 2021
It was a year ago that the first cases of Covid-19 outside of China were found in Thailand, initially with Chinese tourists and eventually with a Thai taxi driver who served the Bangkok airports. The Thai government acted quickly, largely listening to the advice of public health officials and life here in Thailand hasn't been the same.  As CP Roger writes in his message, below, our projects continued but our budget and members who remained in the country were stretched thin as the needs of the local people grew and we found ourselves funding initiatives that we hadn't anticipated.  
For Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC), the past year has been a roller coaster ride, much like the up and down twists of the Chinese dragon that used to be a prominent and popular feature of Chinese New Year parades back when such celebrations were permitted.  Our Facebook page is a good chronicle of how much our world has changed, from a happy fundraising Duck Race last February to feeding out-of-work local folks, and now welcoming new and returning members.
As I write each month, pour your favorite beverage and settle in for this month's activity report -- somewhat curtailed by the "Second Wave" restrictions that appear to be on the wane, thanks once again to good public health measures. You can best view each story by clicking on the story's title.
February 2021 Thoughts from the President

The ending of the calendar year in December brought a renewed hope of a return to a “new normal” in Thailand and in Chiang Mai. Unfortunately, the illegal movement of people across country borders and mass movement of people within Thailand for New Year celebrations brought on a second wave of Covid-19 to Thailand. This led to a decision to halt face-to-face club-related meetings after the January 5th regular meeting. We thought this might be a 6–8 week out-break and we could resume meetings in mid to late February. We held our regular meeting on January 19th using ZOOM and also conducted member pre-induction meetings using ZOOM.

We were fortunate that the Thai government did an effective job handling the outbreak in Chiang Mai and we were able to have a face-to-face board meeting on January 26th with hopeful plans of resuming regular face-to-face meetings on February 2nd. This meeting on the 2nd will be a celebration of Rotary International’s 116th Birthday and our club’s 7th birthday,

On a sad note, we lost our former member, friend and supporter of our club, Bob Carroll, in January due to an unexpected and sudden heart attack while in the USA. Bob had been a big supporter of the BEAM Education Foundation, our club's Children’s Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Project and the Burma Children Medical Fund B.K. Kee Patient House. Bob will be missed and remembered by many. Bob remembered our club in his Thai Final Will for helping our club’s efforts here in Thailand. A Bob Carroll CMIRC BEAM Scholarship Fund has been established in remembrance of Bob and his involvement with BEAM.

Our Membership Chair, Viki, has been quite busy recruiting and qualifying new members for our club with four prospective members having pre-induction meetings in January with a planned induction on February 2nd. This Rotary Year we have added three new members (Bonnie, Debra and Joe) and in February will add four more members (Bill, Nicha, Julia and Jim). Way to go Viki and your Membership Committee!!

Our Treasurer, Nancy, has migrated from a high level of concern over club solvency (due to Covid-19's impact on fundraising) to an improved note of optimism. The rise in optimism being due to: a generous donation to the club by to-be-inducted Bill Trempus; Bob Carroll’s remembering our club in his Final Will and the awarding of a grant by the Australian Aid Program to support drowning prevention at the eleven Chiang Mai Municipal Schools.

Hopefully, the situation will return to a more “near normal” here in Chiang Mai soon and our service projects can resume.

We do indeed live in interesting times.

Bob Carroll Memorial BEAM Scholarship Fund

We at the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC) were very saddened to learn of the death last month of our former member and friend, Bob Carroll. (Pictured center at his CMIRC induction in 2015 with me on the left and P. Joe on the right.) Bob was a person who could always be counted on to help those in need and especially those who only needed an opportunity to make a better life for themselves!

That is the reason he volunteered and spent many hours teaching the immigrant students at BEAM, so that they could achieve a high school diploma through the U.S. GED (high school diploma equivalency) Program. Many of these students would then be able to seek post-secondary education here in Thailand or abroad and improve their lives. Bob loved the BEAM program and the many intelligent and hard-working students he met there! They loved him too.

We at CMIRC wanted to provide those who knew, respected, and loved Bob an opportunity to honor his memory; we decided that the Bob Carroll Memorial BEAM Scholarship Fund would be the ideal way to do this. All funds donated in Bob’s memory will be used to help pay for the costs of the GED high school equivalency exam or to help with school tuition for the BEAM students who pass the GED and are accepted at a post-secondary institution.

There are currently 33 students in the BEAM GED Program, and they will need US$300 for each student’s GED test. Currently according to BEAM they are about US$5,000 short for this year’s GED exams and all funds raised in excess of this will be used for college scholarships so these hardworking students can continue their education. CMIRC Rotarian Moshe Mandelman has offered to match donations to BEAM for a limited time (up to a total of US$3,000). So, now is the time to give in Bob’s honor!!

For those of you who would like to make a contribution in Bob’s memory, please contact our treasurer NANCY LINDLEY or me at and we will send you details on how to transfer funds to our CMIRC account specified for the Bob Carroll Memorial BEAM Scholarship Fund. All funds donated in this way will be used for that fund alone. Bulletin readers, please feel free to share this message with others who knew Bob and who might want to donate in his memory.

We will all miss Bob greatly, but take some comfort knowing that his generous spirit will live on through all the young people he has helped over the years at BEAM, the Burma Children Medical Fund B. K. Kee Patient House and in our CMIRC Children’s Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Program!

An Update on the Avocado Gardening Project

In March 2020, CMIRC approved a sustainable agricultural production project, namely the Avocado Gardening Project (AGP), a three year project, aiming to assist 45 selected Lahu families who live in three village groups in Mae Hong Son Province, situated in the northwestern area of Northern Thailand along the border with Myanmar. A sub-project of the AGP, focusing on providing improved breeds of native pigs and black-boned chickens to these same families is also planned to be integrated into the program in 2021.

The total budget of the AGP is over 400,000 baht with the Thai Thaim Foundation providing approximately 75% of the funding with the balance from the Wooddale Church, both in the U.S.

The major objective of this project is to assist targeted families in their struggles of transforming traditional agricultural practice of slash-and-burn cultivation into a sustainable, multiple perennial cash-crop production system by using new promising crops -- avocado trees with the integration of tea planting and wild honey beehives kept in the same plantations.

During 2020, the participatory project planning was conducted by voluntary project staff members and participating families in which the following major activities were planned to be implemented in the three year project duration of 2020-2022. The project was divided into three groups of families and distributed 750 avocado seedlings to the first 15 families with 50 trees per family in June 2020 to transplant into their own avocado gardens (right).

Then, in October 2020, AGP purchased 7,000 avocado seeds imported from Vietnam and grown in the nurseries in Wanaluang and Huay San Nai (left) project villages and the seedlings are now growing and planned to equally share them between all 45 project families in June 2021. Each of those project families will be receiving around 150 seedlings to transplant in their individual plantations in June 2021. By the end of June 2021, a total of 7,700 avocado trees will be growing in the plantations of around 450 rai (75 hectares) of the 45 project families who live in Wanaluang and Huay San Nai villages.

Based on the existing project budget, AGP could provide only 7,700 avocado trees as a starter for their plantations. Therefore, AGP is planning to motivate and build capacity for those families to expand their own plantations after the AGP is phased out in early 2023. As part of the encouragement and capacity development of the project members, AGP has planned to conduct a training exchange trip to three selected Lahu villages where villagers are getting family incomes from avocado fruit selling and/or the honey of wild bees, and a tea nursery where tea seedlings are raised to distribute to AGP project families in June 2022 and surplus going to other interested families in Mae Hong Son and other provinces of Northern Thailand.


A three-day, two-night training exchange visit to a villager's avocado garden in Chiang Mai province and wild honey bee-keeping colonies and a tea nursery in Chiang Rai province are planned for December 2021.  Members of CMIRC are invited to join the Lahu villagers in the tour and will see sights such as mature avocado trees (left), wild honey bee colonies (center) and a tea nursery (right).

In December 2022, a final experience-sharing and exchange seminar of the project families will be organized in Wanaluang village. The outcomes of this seminar on best practices will be shared in the form of an AGP Newsletter in Lahu and will circulate to all the Lahu Lands of Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Yunnan China after the seminar, in addition to uploading to YouTube and broadcast through the Radio Broadcasting Station of the Department of Public Relations in Chiang Mai. Constructive advice and suggestions on AGP’s project activities mentioned above are welcome.

Update for the Children's Water Safety Program

Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC)-Kru Payu  Children’s Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Program (CWSDPP) 

The recent surge of Covid-19 in Thailand has slowed progress in our Chiang Mai Municipal Schools program. We have completed lessons for three of the eleven schools and two additional schools had almost finished with their courses when the schools were forced to close again. Schools reopened on January 19 and we hope to complete our program for all eight of the remaining schools before the end of the Rotary year on June 30. But, we have learned that during these difficult times flexibility and adaptability are very important qualities. Our team will find a way!

In Phrao, working with our Warm Heart Foundation partners, we finished our survival swim and water safety instruction in early December. In 2020, thanks to the funding from British Community in Thailand Foundation for the Needy (BCTFN), we expanded to seven schools in Phrao. Here are the highlights of last year’s program and projections for next year’s program from our interim report to BCTFN:

1. The 2020 Grant served seven schools in six classes with 170 children taking the classes.

2. The total BCTFN grant in 2020 was 131,250 baht or 770 baht/child for 15 hours of instruction by our five swim teachers, all equipment, pool rental, and transportation.

3. For 2021, we anticipate serving 160 children and expect the cost per student to be very similar to this year’s costs. After three years of experience and annual assessments in Phrao we are confident that our Phrao team is doing excellent work.

4. We want to thank BCTFN for helping us to reduce the risk of drowning for poor children in Phrao.  (pictured below is Ian Bushell, left, of BCTFN and John Schorr, right, of CMIRC with the swim instructors during a recent visit to Phrao)

Finally, we welcome donations and new Rotary partners to help us continue into our 6th year and beyond of this life saving program.

We started this program in 2015 and we are still going strong and serving more children every year thanks to our wonderful sponsors and CMIRC volunteers! If you wish to help please contact Project Champion John Schorr at for more information.

The Thai Thaim Foundation

New Year Update from the B.K. Kee Patient House

This month we made two visits to the Burma Children Medical Fund B. K. Kee Patient House. On January 2nd the patients and caregivers played bingo for prizes.

We also brought some jackets for those in need (right), thanks to Rotarian Debra’s generous donation. 

Fellow Rotarian Nick, B.K. Kee employee Klao and myself also toured the grounds to come up with a list of possible projects that the student Interact group from Chiang Mai International School (CMIS) could potentially tackle.

On January 16th we had a painting party. The goal is that the remaining Teddy Trekkers from Rotarians Jerry and Maliwan will be making a trip down to Mae Sot at a future date when travel can safely resume, providing some comfort to young patients at Mae Tao Clinic.

So, the patients at the B.K. Kee House transformed plain paper bags into beautiful gift bags for the Teddy Trekkers (left). Thank you Rotarian Nick for such a wonderful idea!! 

We are excited about partnering with students from the Chiang Mai International School’s Interact Club. Currently they are busy collecting fabric and used clothing to donate to the house in order to distribute to young people in Mae Sot and Karen State in Burma. Fabric will be transformed into blankets, foot mats, face masks and pillows. Rotarian Nick and I will be collecting their donations on February 5th. In addition, a few of the Interact students will be joining us on our next visit, February 7th and will bring some hygiene supplies that they have collected.

Further plans for how CMIS’s Interact club can assist the house on a continuing basis will be developed at the direction of BCMF Director Kanchana Thornton. Stay tuned for further information on this beneficial partnership.

If anyone has fabric or clothing for young people, please contact Project Champion Bill Pierce. You can call me at 097-931-7149, or email me at Thank you. Your contributions will be greatly appreciated.

CMIRC School Vision Screening Program Wraps Up for This School Year

As we told you in last month’s CMIRC Bulletin, we delivered our last prescription glasses to the municipal school children on December 24th of 2020. In all, 149 elementary school children predominantly from very poor families have directly benefited from our CMIRC School Vision Screening Program (SVSP) this school year!!

Our experience with earlier vision screening projects has shown us the importance of following up with children who received glasses to be sure that they are being used properly and that the children are comfortable wearing them. To that end, on January 24, 2021, we sent a questionnaire to all twelve schools we served asking the health teacher to follow up with the children who received glasses. The questions dealt with how well the glasses fit, whether the children felt their vision was improved and clearer, whether they had problems with dizziness, and whether the glasses had been damaged. For each question for each child the health teacher could also comment and elaborate. We will now wait for the replies to these questions for all children who received glasses and where there are problems, our optician and team members will respond.

We are also planning for next school year, probably beginning our screenings of 3rd and 5th-graders in June, at the start of the new school year. The screenings next school year will include a follow-up examination with the children who received glasses in 2020 (most will be 4th and 6th-graders at the same schools) and then a screening of the new 3rd and 5th-graders at each of the twelve schools.

Finally, in spite of the generosity of our donors last year, we are still going to be far behind in our budget for next year. The program cost per prescription including the optician’s fees, frames, and lenses this past year was about 600 Baht (US$20); the glasses are provided for free to the children. The total program budget for next year is estimated to be between $3,000 and $4,000 US dollars.

If you wish to learn how you can help, please contact Project Champion John Schorr at or tel.: 66 (0)8 5030 2143

The CMIRC School Vision Screening Program at the eleven municipal schools during the 2020 school year was made possible by the very generous donation from the Rotary Club of Spokane#21; their gift to the children of Chiang Mai covered almost all program costs with the exception of the children’s frames and prescriptions for children who were referred by teachers from outside our targeted 3rd and 5th grade classes. The program at Wat Suan Dok School was funded by the Rotary Club of Chiang Mai Wattana.  One thousand, high quality New Balance children’s frames were donated by Eyewear Designs Limited of Bethpage, NY, USA. The Thai Thaim Foundation also contributed to the program.

Our 2020 School Vision Screening Donor Team:


The Thai Thaim Foundation

Rotary International’s 116th Birthday on February 23rd

The first gathering, on Thursday evening, 23 February 1905 in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. was initiated by attorney Paul P. Harris. Young Harris, fresh from a wild five years as a reporter, actor, cowboy, seaman, granite salesman, fruit picker and hotel clerk and five years building a successful law practice, had an idea. It was regarding observations of success and respect which could come from organizing professional acquaintances.

He had given this much thought by the time he and Silvester Schiele (a coal merchant) walked over to Gus Loehr's (a mining engineer) office, in Room 711 in the Unity Building on Dearborn Street that cold winter night in 1905, almost nine years from his arrival in Chicago. In addition, a fourth man, Hiram E, Shorey (a tailor) attended this first meeting. Several weeks later, Schiele was elected the first president of Rotary when the meeting was held in his office.

The members chose the name Rotary because initially they rotated subsequent weekly club meetings to each other's offices, although within a year, the Chicago club became so large it became necessary to adopt the now-common practice of a regular meeting place.

The next four Rotary Clubs were organized in cities in the western United States, beginning with San Francisco, then Oakland, Seattle, and Los Angeles. The National Association of Rotary Clubs in America was formed in 1910.

On November 3, 1910, a Rotary club began meeting in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, the beginning of the organization's internationality. On 22 February 1911, the first meeting of the Rotary Club Dublin was held in Dublin, Ireland. This was the first club established outside of North America. In April 1912, Rotary chartered the Winnipeg club marking the first establishment of an American-style service club outside the United States. To reflect the addition of a club outside of the United States, the name was changed to the International Association of Rotary Clubs. 

In August 1912, the Rotary Club of London received its charter from the Association, marking the first acknowledged Rotary club outside North America. It later became known that the Dublin club in Ireland was organized before the London club, but the Dublin club did not receive its charter until after the London club was chartered. During World War I, Rotary in Britain increased from 9 to 22 clubs, and other early clubs in other nations included those in Cuba in 1916, Philippines in 1919 and India in 1920.

In 1922, the name was changed to Rotary International.

Rotary Clubs

The Rotary Club is the basic unit of Rotary activity, and each club determines its own membership. Clubs originally were limited to a single club per city, municipality, or town, but Rotary International has encouraged the formation of one or more additional clubs in the largest cities when practical.

Most clubs meet weekly, usually at a mealtime on a weekday in a regular location, when Rotarians can discuss club business and hear from guest speakers. Each club also conducts various service projects within its local community, and participates in special projects involving other clubs in the local district, and occasionally a special project in a "sister club" in another nation.

February 2021 is Rotary International Peace and Conflict Prevention/Resolution Month

Rotary creates environments of peace

As a humanitarian organization, peace is a cornerstone of our mission. We believe when people work to create peace in their communities, that change can have a global effect.

By carrying out service projects and supporting peace fellowships and scholarships, our members take action to address the underlying causes of conflict, including poverty, discrimination, ethnic tension, lack of access to education, and unequal distribution of resources.

Our commitment to peacebuilding today answers new challenges: how we can make the greatest possible impact and how we can achieve our vision of lasting change. We are approaching the concept of peace with greater cohesion and inclusivity, broadening the scope of what we mean by peacebuilding, and finding more ways for people to get involved.

Rotary creates environments where peace can happen.

Rotary’s Four Roles in Promoting Peace

Rotary and its members are:

  • Practitioners: Fighting disease, providing clean water and sanitation, improving the health of mothers and children, supporting education, and growing local economies directly builds the optimal conditions for peaceful societies.
  • Educators: Rotary Peace Centers have trained over 1,300 peace fellows to become effective catalysts for peace through careers in government, education and international organizations.
  • Mediators: Rotary members have negotiated humanitarian ceasefires in areas of conflict to allow polio vaccinators to reach at risk children.
  • Advocates: Rotary members play an integral role as respected, impartial participants during peace processes and in post-conflict reconstruction. They focus on creating communities and convening groups that are connected, inclusive and resilient.

What You May Have Missed in January
The regular every other Sunday morning visits by club members to the patients and their families at Burma Children Medical Fund B.K. Kee Patient House here in Chiang Mai where members socialize, play games, bring food and engage in craft projects with the patients and their families.
The first and third Fridays of the month Chiang Mai Expats Club breakfasts, where we promote CMIRC and swap "Change for Children" owl banks, were cancelled to emergence of Covid-19 in our community.
Tuesday, January 5, CMIRC Fundraising Committee meeting at Royal Peninsula Hotel.
Tuesday, January 5, CMIRC's regular meeting at the Royal Peninsula Hotel with the program presented by Rosie Massingham (right, with CP Roger) on the topic "Thomas House in Thaton".
Saturday, January 9, our 9@9 ZOOM meeting with members who are outside of Chiang Mai.
Tuesday, January 12, CMIRC Membership Committee pre-induction meeting via ZOOM with William (Bill) Trempus and Tannicha (Nicha) Khrueawutthipong
Thursday, January 14, CMIRC Membership Committee pre-induction meeting via ZOOM with James (Jim) Kittel.
Tuesday, January 19, CMIRC Membership Committee ZOOM pre-induction meeting Julia Merkt.
Tuesday, January 19, CMIRC's regular meeting on ZOOM with the program presented by Kevin Miller on the topic: "Guarding Against Pedophilia"
Tuesday, January 26, our club board meeting at Royal Peninsula Hotel.
Save the Dates: February & Beyond

The needed protection measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have caused the cancellation of many events. Others are being conducted online and others have been postponed. Below is a list of events and their status, as we currently understand them. Please remember the situation is extremely fluid and things change daily. Some of our scheduled speakers may be willing to participate in online meetings. The latest news for CMIRC events is at:

Here are just a few of the important dates for members of Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC). These are opportunities to meet some of us and to meet other Rotarians from around the world!

Every other Sunday visits by club members to Burma Children Medical Fund's  (BCMF) B. K. Kee Patient House to socialize, play games, do crafts with the patients and their families.  Interested? Contact Rotarian Bill Pierce.

2 February 2021 Service Project Committee Meeting, 4 pm at Royal Peninsula Hotel.

2 February 2021 CMIRC Club Meeting Meeting, 7 pm. at Royal Peninsula Hotel.  The program will be presented by CP Roger Lindley on the topic "A Trip Down Memory Lane". The 7th birthday celebration of CMIRC with a fast-moving, photo-packed presentation ending with a delicious surprise. Gather at 5:45 pm for an optional dinner; order off the menu of the hotel's restaurant. 

6 February 2021 Gordana Nardini's Birthday

9 February 2021 CMIRC "9 at 9" 9 pm Thai time.  A ZOOM social meeting for members in and out of Thailand.  Contact IPP John.

11 February 2021 Craig Clark's Birthday.

16 February 2021 CMIRC Club Meeting, 7 pm. at Royal Peninsula Hotel. Speaker: Nancy Lindley on "Health Care in Chiang Mai for Expats".  Gather at 5:45 pm for an optional dinner.; order off the menu of the hotel's restaurant.

23 February 2021 CMIRC Board Meeting at Royal Peninsula Hotel, 1:00 - 3:00 pm  Contact CP. Roger

12 – 16 June 2021 - Rotary International Convention, virtual convention. 

4 – 8 June 2022 - Rotary International Convention, Houston, Texas, USA

Thank You to Our Sponsors
 Rotary is not free; we give our hearts, we give our time and to some extent we give our money. Most of our heart, most of our time and most of our money goes to support our children’s projects. Yet we have operational expenses, for example, our website with its powerful tools such as this bulletin. We ask that you consider our sponsors for your needs.
The Lila Thai Massage Ex-Inmate Employment and Skill Development Center was established in 2014 by "Naowarat Thanasrisutharat" to help and support women being released from prison. The ladies receive a massage training course from certified massage instructors (ex-inmates who work for Lila Thai Massage); these programs are endorsed by and meet the requirements of the Chiang Mai Public Health Department. This project reduces the women conviction rates in Chiang Mai and helps to solve the societal problems that perpetuate the situation, bringing about our long-cherished dream for a better community. The quality of massage at Lila Thai Massage is consistently superb.
Royal Peninsula Hotel is an excellent international standard hotel located in the heart of Chiang Mai. They have 150 guest rooms with all amenities including free wi-fi. There is ample onsite, covered parking. The outdoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi are available to guests. There is both an indoor restaurant, featuring Thai cuisine and outdoor beer garden next to the swimming pool. The Royal Peninsula Hotel has two conference and banquet rooms, well decorated, with good acoustics. The staff at Royal Peninsula are very accommodating. The Chiang Mai International Rotary Club meets at the Royal Peninsula at 7:00 PM on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month, with many members and guests gathering about an hour before the meeting in the hotel's restaurant for fellowship and an optional meal, ordering from the restaurant's menu of reasonably-priced Thai food.
Our sponsors donate money that supports our operational expenses, freeing funds for the projects we love. Please give them your support. 
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