Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Toastmasters: a Soapbox to Stand On (2000)

As I promised my dying brother Rick, I did join Toastmasters. In fact, I was president of the local chapter for several years. A good speech, I learned, introduces ideas in threes, and I knew I wanted the first home in Sulawesi, Indonesia. I knew I wanted the second project in Guyana as I had known two of Guyana’s presidents, Cheddi and Janet Jagan [Cheddi Jagan, President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, 1918-1997. Janet Jagan, President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, 1920-pres.], quite well for over a decade. I had no idea, though, where the third should go.

Looking at the map, it appeared that Haiti was the poorest country within proximity of New York, so I decided to make Haiti our third project. Speaking at Toastmasters on this topic, I met Dr. Doris Chernik who had collected modern art from Haiti for years. She immediately offered to coordinate OI Haiti, and has volunteered on this project since it began. Doris’ expertise as a clinical psychologist on OI’s educational values have had an impact far from Gonaives, where OI Haiti is located today.

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