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Vol. 13, No. 11, September 11, 2000

 GSE Brazil Team

Raaen, Szatrowski
Fridayís speaker Lee Raaen chats with BBRC member Ted Szatrowski.

John DeWater introduced featured speaker Lee Raaen. Lee is a Rotarian, and was leader of the District 5030ís GSE team to Brazil last year. He is also the Chairman of District 5030ís GSE Committee.

Lee encouraged everyone to submit names of non-Rotarians who might be GSE team members. This year, District 5030 will be exchanging with a Thailand district that lies east and south of Bangkok.

Lee zipped through many interesting slides of his teamís trip to Brazil. They visited District 4500, which is in the very northeastern part of Brazil, and included the most easterly tip of South America, which also happens to be the most easterly tip of land in the western hemisphere.

A disproportionate number of Leeís slides appeared to be centered around the imbibing of some local beverage. Lee claims this is the result of his duality condition. Not only is he a lawyer, he is also an entrepreneur operating a beverage company which uses an ingredient found in the Amazon River basin. Consequently, many of his visits were to beverage-oriented facilities, such as breweries and distilleries, in addition to trips to local courts.

One interesting observation Lee made was that most all courtrooms and other public facilities contain a crucifix in a prominent location. The GSE teamís hosts were quick to point out that they did not necessarily mean that they were advocating the Catholic religion; it could be any Christian religion. Lee pointed out that other non-Christian religions existed, which seemed to surprise his hosts. They appeared to have no concept of the notion of separation of church and state as we enjoy it in the USA.

Many of Leeís slides pictured Rotary projects, which ran the gamut from computer laboratories, schools, orphanages, schools for the arts to facilities for destitute elderly people.

Lee concluded his remarks with three requests:

 1. Consider being a GSE team leader;

 2. Consider finding a team member for the Thailand exchange; and

 3. Consider hosting an incoming team member when the team from Thailand is here in the country.

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