Greetings Monadnock Rotarians: 
We had a busy meeting on Tuesday, February 27. Bob Meissner read a poem by Roger Housdon for Opening Words and Kevin had “The Hat” and spoke about taking a ride on a nuclear submarine commissioned in Groton, Connecticut.
 Becky Sakallarion was our speaker. Becky lived in Greece for several years and has returned to work with refugees arriving from Syria and other countries. She offered a brief history of the recent migration beginning in 2015 with the Syrian civil war escalation. The original waves of refugees were members of the Syrian professional class and were welcomed by European countries. As the war progressed, less educated migrants placed greater stress on available services and countries began restricting entry. Refugees found themselves unable to move beyond Greece—a country already facing financial difficulties. As a result, migrants found themselves living in crowded refugee camps during the winter with only tents for shelter. By 2016, 365,000 people had arrived in Greece most through the island of Lesbos…a 4 mile journey from Turkey over open water. Many people drowned during the journey.
The European Union paid Turkey 3.5 billion Euros to establish camps and discourage people from moving to Greece. People smuggling is big business and before long the number of immigrants reaching Greek soil increased. Currently, there are 40 camps in Greece housing 65,000 refugees. Greece has delegated supervision of the camps to international NGOs. Becky is currently raising funds to return to Greece with clothing and other necessary supplies. She has also been interviewing women to compile their “life stories”. Generally, men have been given the opportunity to serve as spokespersons for the migrants and little attention has been paid to women and their roles in organizing their journeys and keeping their families together in difficult times.                                                  
On March 6, the scheduled speaker will be Steve Reinhart. We will also have a brief discussion about the future of RYLA originally scheduled for March 24 but the number of students is not sufficient to move forward with the event. Rick has Opening Words and Rob has “The Hat”. On March 13, Jamie Hamilton has Opening Words and Adam Hamilton has “The Hat”.
During our Executive Committee meeting on February 28, we discussed future committee assignments. We established March 3 as the “drop dead” for students wishing to attend RYLA. Two members have anonymously offered to make donations to Brantwood Camp through the Monadnock Rotary Club. Dale offered a motion to donate $200 to the camp when the checks have been deposited in our account.
May 12 was selected as the possible date for our roadside clean-up project. Bill will contact Chuck Simpson to learn of his interest in participating. We also discussed our process for selecting speakers and noted the great job Bob Meissner has done in helping identify speakers. Bob has agreed to continue to help organize speakers for us and will work with the designated “speaker seekers”.
See you Tuesday!