In February of 2022, a group of Rotarians from district 5240 and 5280, joined our leader and International Service Director, Diego Velasquez, on a rewarding journey to Paipa, Colombia! Aside from enjoy the enchanting beauty of Colombia, the mission was to discover inspiring international service projects at Colombia’s 7th Annual International Rotary Projects Fair. Our Club’s International Service Director, Mr. Velasquez, organized the Rotarians over the course of several months and ultimately departed from Los Angeles and arrived in Bogota, Colombia. From there they made it to the ultimate destination in the remote and lovely town of Paipa.
The three-day project fair gave these Rotarians the opportunity to see many projects which they brought home. At this projects fair, our group joined over 120 Rotarians from Colombia and 22 Rotarians from 5 different countries and enjoyed the local hospitality, tours, and recreation. Tours were offered and Rotarians enjoyed destinations including an underground salt cathedral, the historical city Villa de Leyva, thermal hot springs to bathe in, and see the Puente of Boyaca where Colombia gained its independence from imperial Spain!
Also, these adventurous Rotarians had the wonderful opportunity to experience a wheelchair distribution! The Conejo Valley Rotary Club and other Rotarians in Colombia contributed finances to donate numerous wheelchairs for recipients in dire need of one. Wheelchairs have an immediate effect on the recipients lives, surrounding caregivers, and their family. As a matter of fact, it is estimated that at least ten people benefit when one person receives a wheelchair and the recipient receives a renewed sense of mobility, hope, and freedom. At this distribution our Conejo Valley Rotary Club, Diego and Anna Velasquez DeShields were honored with a commemorative flag plaque on permanent display in the town’s center.
This is not our first organized trip! Our Club’s International Service Director, Diego Velasquez, has organized several of these trips and plans to do more so keep an eye out for future trips!