It is not my turn today

The Rotary International Convention is currently being held in Melbourne, Australia, where approximately 13,000 Rotarians from around the world — from 120 countries — have congregated to “Imagine” a world where we all continue to create a net of compassion, care, love and kindness to change and uplift the lives of the marginalized human beings around the world through The Rotary Foundation.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF BING NIEVA CARRION | Soroptimist International Board of Directors member Mitzi Piad, international health consultant Ann Evans and author and Daily Tribune columnist Bing N. Carrion

During the Arch Khlump Society pre-summit forum where the generous donors were recognized and honored, I was completely blown away by the powerful narrative of the second to the last speaker, Ann Evans, FNP, DrPH, an international health consultant, an AKS Circle member and a member of the Charlotte International Rotary Club of District 7680. Ann stood on stage, a petite charming woman who radiated happiness and fulfillment in her demeanor.

She shared: “I joined a medical mission of Rotary eye doctors who annually share their time, expertise and resources to operate on the people with eye problems. During a moment of rest, I observed a young boy of 12 hovering around me. I engaged him in conversation and asked him, ‘Have you eaten?’ And his reply was, ‘It is not my turn to eat today.’”

This unexpected reply completely changed Ann’s view of life. Right then and there she vowed to donate to The Rotary Foundation in order that children like the 12-year-old Sudanese boy would not need to wait for his turn to a proper meal. Ann even joined the RISE Against Hunger to ensure that Rotary is able to fulfill its mission and commitment to aid the marginalized members of society in poverty-stricken countries like Sudan.

Ann’s powerful narrative brought me to tears. Tears of empathy, sadness and anger. The more I thought about it, we need more Anns and Rotarians who fulfill Rotary’s mantra of “Service Above Self.” This is the challenge I pose to all Rotarians worldwide. Let us leave this world empty. Let us share what we have with the poorest of the poor. We need to act today. Let us donate to The Rotary Foundation. We need to create a kinder, safer, happy, healthier and loving world for those who need it most. Let us be Rotarians in deed and not just in words. As the Bible states: “To whom much is given, much is expected.”