August 3, 2022 Meeting Notes

The August 3, 2022 meeting opened on Zoom and in person.

At 12:29, Emily Olson started the meeting by ringing the bell. President Ouimet participated via Zoom.  Thomas Strode led us in “God Bless America”.  Inspiration was provided by Cyril White who shared a Chinese story that reflected how to treat people we meet along our journey in life with radical acceptance and non-judgment. Joey D and the Dip Sticks/Dip Chicks with Kathy Waugh channeling Cher led the Club accompanied by Curt Waugh in “I’ve Got You Babe. “

President Ouimet welcomed attendees and guests. Thank you to the meeting coordinators. Bob Dieter passed away recently and a moment of silence was observed.

Norma Sarkar shared that the Taking Action for Peace Conference is scheduled for Sept 23-24 at the Michigan League.  More information will be shared at a later date.

President Ouimet gave special thanks to John Sepp, Club Development Director for taking the lead on manning a booth at this year’s Art Fair, especially with short notice. Thanks also to all the volunteers who assisted in staffing the booth.

The annual RCAA annual fundraiser is coming up. President Ouimet encouraged all members to sign up to volunteer and attend the Golf Outing scheduled for Wednesday, September 14, 2022, at Fox Hills Golf & Banquet Center. Sign up at https://app.eventcaddy.com/events/2022-gto-fundraiser

The introduction to today’s speaker was provided by Yolanda Whiten.  Sarah Strader is the founder and Director of Chasing Two Rabbits.  Her presentation was entitled “Chasing Two Rabbits:  Hunter-Gatherer Education in the 21st Century.”  Chasing Two Rabbits is a nonprofit that engages with indigenous communities in Cameroon whose mission is to empower communities to create preschool programs that honor their identity and prepare children to lead the future as they define it.

Chasing Two Rabbits work with the Baka – hunter-gatherers in a forested tropical area in southern Cameroon who have occupied this area for generations.  The Baka move their living quarters with the season based on hunting and gathering and use the land for food and shelter and sustain their lives.  Both extractive industries and the conservation movement have been a huge problem with the Baka because the Baka have not “proven” ownership of the land they have occupied for millennia.  This issue has caused exploitation of the land and natural resources that the Baka use to sustain themselves.

Transportation to the area where the Baka live in the jungle is primarily done via motorcycle in the dry season as the location is very remote and takes three days to travel to the village. Children are self-sufficient and participate and lead hunting activities and assist with child care at a young age due to the necessities of their lifestyles and contribution to the overall community. Due to deforestation, hunting for meat is becoming more difficult so the Baka have become more resourceful for food sources with even the children involved including gathering mushrooms and other food. Hunter/gatherer diets are more nutritious compared to a traditional western diet. The forest provides the Baka with medicine, food, & shelter.

The Baka’s village is scheduled to be flattened for an iron mine currently under development.  The Baka were unaware of this happening because of their lack of knowledge of French or English – 80% of the Baka are illiterate. They have been unable to defend their rights because they lack literacy & language skills due to generations of exclusion from formal schools. The Baka are deeply vulnerable due to the land is being destroyed and becoming uninhabitable. Clean water and food are becoming scarcer due to mining, logging, and poaching.

Sarah asked how do we chase two rabbits at once?  By preserving ancestral knowledge of the forest, but gain new knowledge and bringing both of these together. The teaching model that Chasing Two Rabbits teaching methods different from dominant (colonial) methods in that 1) the curriculum is in the child’s language and cultural style; 2) the teachers come from the community and are curriculum developers, and 3) the curriculum is delivered using audio methods utilizing low-cost crank-powered mp3 technology.  The annual cost to educate a Baka child is $18. More information about the organization can be found at www.chasingtworabbits.org.

Mre information on Two Rabbits: Two Rabbits two-pager – 2022 and Two Rabbits – RCAA Presentation

Rotary flag exchange

Marcia Lane concluded the meeting by sharing information about the “Embracing Our Differences” (EOD) banner project installed at Gallup Park and Leslie Science Center in Ann Arbor and Riverside and Parkridge Community Center in Ypsilanti, from May through September 2022. EOD SE Michigan uses the transformative power of art to spark discussions on our differences: race, sex, LGBTQ, mental and physical differences and to open our heart to embrace diversity. A school curriculum has been developed for all grades and is available at no cost to teachers to supplement and enhance their lesson plans. Committees and RCAA members have sponsored some of the art on display at Gallup Park. Some of our members have viewed the display, some with a docent, and some have served as greeters.  (You can still sign up to do this, by the way!).  All agree that a docent-led tour is the best way to see EOD.  With that in mind, a tour led by John White’s neighbor Linda Grekin, who’s a regular docent is scheduled for Tuesday, August 16, at 5:00 pm. The tours take about 90 minutes.  You can sign up simply by emailing or calling Marcia Lane. Linda would like to know the numbers in case she needs a second docent.

Next week: Dr. Arun Gupta will discuss “The Preventable Epidemic: A Frontline Doctor’s Experience and Recommendations to Resolve the Opioid Crisis”.

Quote for the Day: President Ouimet shared a quote from Bill Russell — “The magic to a great meeting is all of the work that’s done beforehand.” Russell who recently passed away was a leader both on and off the basketball court.

President Ouimet adjourned the meeting at 1:33.

Respectfully submitted by,

Jennifer Fike