Vol. 17, No. 18, November 1, 2004


This Reveille Home Page | The Friday Program: Agros Report from Central America | Final Turn-In For Raffle Tickets | Ticket-Tearing Party | Friday Potpourri | Rotarian of the Month: Mary Bell | Dick Brown & the M&M’s Project | Day Planners for Sammamish | Rotary First Harvest Reaches Milestone | Preserve Planet Earth | Declaration of Rotarians | Web Fun


The Rotary Foundation, celebrated each November in all of Rotary. Don Chandler and Don Deasy, co-chairs of the BBRC Foundation, effort will be informing us about the importance of the Foundation and exhorting us to support it.


Second-quarter billing distributed, albeit a little late. Please send your remittances to BBRC, PO Box 3003, Bellevue WA 98009-3003; or bring check to Cashier; or have Cashier make a credit card transaction.

The Friday Program:
Agros Report from Central America

AgrosCarlsonFriday morning brought a dynamic contingency from Agros to our Bellevue Breakfast Rotary meeting. President Elect Steve Lingenbrink introduced David Carlson, Community Relations Manager of Agros, who has made several appearances and presentations at BBRC in years past. David shared a little history of Agros with us and then introduced Mario Morales, Executive Director of Agros-Guatemala. Prior to joining Agros three years ago, Mr. Morales worked extensively to integrate the coffee industry and commerce throughout the villages of Guatemala. A highlight of his efforts was a creation of a scholarship program funded by the coffee industry for Guatemalan girls. This program, which is now ten years old, continues to flourish throughout the country.

About two years ago Mario met Steve Lingenbrink, and he expressed that it is a real honor for him to continue to work with Steve to foster the mission of Agros, especially today, by being given the privilege to speak at our Friday Rotary breakfast.

Mr. Morales reminded us that it has been ten years since the war in Guatemala ended, and it has been an enormous challenge to continue to rebuild the countryside and the villages. Agros continues to play an ever-increasing role in the reconstruction.

Guatemala is in Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Mexico, and bordering the Gulf of Honduras between Honduras and Belize. The country is slightly smaller than Tennessee and has a hot, tropical climate in the lowlands and cooler climate in the highlands. It has a population of about 14 million people, with a life expectancy of 64 years old for males and 66 years old for females.

Guatemala is the largest and most populous of the Central American Countries, with a GDP per capita roughly one half that of Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. The agriculture sector accounts for about one fourth of that, two-thirds of exports, and half the labor force.

AgrosRakeMoralesThe signing of the peace accord in 1996 ended 36 years of civil war and removed a large obstacle to investing in the infrastructure of the agricultural communities, which is Agros’ primary focus. The challenge is enormous, with about 75% of the population continuing to live below the poverty line.

Agros exists to restore hope and opportunity to the world’s poor. It’s goal is to see rural poor families own agricultural land, attain economic self sufficiency, realize their God-given potential, and pass on to future generations the values and resources that enable them to flourish.

Agros works to help families in developing countries break free from poverty. They do this by helping them to acquire land, build village infrastructure, develop as individuals, create strong community organizations, and develop economic structures for trade and commerce.

Agros works extensively to develop individuals within the community. For instance, the schools recently had a design contest to create the coffee logo for Atlas Coffee, a Seattle-based coffee company that is the largest purchaser of coffee in this region and is known for working with communities by paying above fair market price for coffee and making sure the proceeds go into community development. As coffee is the second largest commodity in the world (after oil), Mr. Morales thinks that this can be a sustaining model throughout all third-world coffee growing countries.

Mr. Morales revealed that Agros also spends extensive energy developing the resources of women in the communities by offering sewing classes and by establishing vegetable plots to improve the diet of people and to create additional commerce for trade. Agros is working hard with local banks who support women and provide loans for these types of activities.

AgrosAngelAfter Mr. Morales’ presentation, Dr. Jose Angel, Executive Director, Agros El Salvador, spoke briefly, sharing his very passionate thoughts on the impact Agros, working in conjunction with Rotary International, can accomplish in his country, by allowing men, women and children to pursue their dreams of life and happiness.

He mentioned the projects of building water systems so that communities can have clean water, a significant health issue in many villages. Rotary Clubs across America have partnered with the local El Salvadoran Rotary Club to support and foster these projects. He invited everyone to visit and thanked us for our support.

President Johnson awarded Mr. Morales a certificate showing that 1220 pounds of food has been donated in his name to food banks in this area, courtesy of Rotary First Harvest. Our thanks to Steve Lingenbrink for this introduction.






Reveille | Reveille Archives | Meeting Information | Calendar | How to Join the BBRC | Officers & Directors | Committees | Online Member Directory | Short Directory PDF File | Directory Info Form | Set Up User Info | Forgot User Info | Meeting Make-Up Form | Attendance Statistics | New Member Application (PDF File) | Expense-Funding Request Form (PDF File) | Rotary Foundation Pledge Form | District 5030 Website & Newsletter | District 5030 Club Websites & Where-When They Meet | 2003 Raffle Winner | About the Raffle | Email Us