Posted by Art Harrington
Crutches 4 Africa  -  Applications to open Nov. 1 
 
Applications for positions as Interact Ambassadors and Team Advisors are expected to be available by Nov. 1, or shortly thereafter, on our Interact District 5495’s website, https://www.rotaryazinteract.org, according  to District Interact Chair Art Harrington.
 
For the past three years our district has been selecting from our top Interactors in the state a team of Interact Ambassadors, accompanied by adult advisors, that have been sent to Kenya for two weeks during the summer.  From the funds raised each year for the program, the airfare for the student Ambassadors has been paid, along with the travel insurance for the team.  The adult advisors have paid their own way each year.
 
 
The primary focus of the Interact Ambassadors’ time in Kenya has been to assist our local Rotary, Rotaract and Interact partners with their year-round distribution of the crutches and other mobility devices our clubs have collected and shipped to that country (also funded by a portion of the money raised).  However, this unique adventure in international service has included much more.  The teams have visited our Rotary district’s water projects that have so far benefitted at least 50,000 members of the Maasai Tribe.  They have taken with them the WAPIs (water pasteurization indicator devices) our Interact clubs have produced, to be delivered to families. Also transported in their suitcases have been clothing and school supplies to give to the children, and medical supplies which they have delivered to hospitals and clinics.  They have visited and spoken to Rotary, Rotaract Interact clubs, and have participated in service projects with some of those Interact clubs that are based in a number of the schools.  The Ambassadors teams have spent time visiting the amazing Rotarian Ubuntu Life program that educates children with disabilities, and employs the mothers of those children in manufacturing products that are sold around the world.  They have also visited Prescott College’s fascinating Dopoi Center that borders on the Maasai Mara Game Reserve.  There they have spent time getting to know the Maasai community — as well as having the opportunity to participate in an incredible photo safari in the world-famous Maasai Mara. 
 
This year the Interact District Council adopted the additional goal of expanding their signature Interact Crutches 4 Africa Project and Interact Ambassadors program to send mobility devices and an Interact Ambassadors team to Central Mexico.  Building upon the longstanding partnership our Arizona Rotary districts here in Arizona have had with the Rotary districts in that region of Mexico, from which our annual USA-Mexico Friendship Conference (being held this year at the Grand Canyon) has grown, the Interact leadership has recognized the needs and the opportunities that exist in Central Mexico. Consequently, an equally exciting Ambassadors trip to Mexico is being planned with our Rotarian partners in that country.  It is expected that both the Kenya and Mexico trips will take place during the first two weeks of July.  As in the past, the deadline for submitting the required applications and reference letters will be December 15.  Online interviews of the applicants for each of the Ambassadors’ teams, as well as the available Advisors positions, will be scheduled for the first part of January. Those who are selected are required to undergo a 6-month online international leadership training program to prepare them for their Rotary service in another country and a different culture.