JAPAN Lions Unleash Bottled-Up Daring Kids today: they’re afraid to tackle challenging endeavors. That’s the view of some Lions in Toyama, a city of 1 million in the center of Japan. Understanding that children today (surely no different than children of prior generations) need to be challenged does not take a degree in rocket science. But the Lions in Toyama are using rockets to lessen children’s hesitancy to pursue activities in which success is not certain. For six years the Toyama Minato Lions Club has helped students make and launch their own rockets. Rising along with the whirring rockets are knowledge of engineering principles and a willingness to tackle a difficult, even potentially dangerous, task. Lion Machiko Kataguchi, who has years of engineering experience, coordinates the annual Bottle Rockets Trials at the Hokubu Children’s Center. Kataguchi began the project because he saw too many children ignorant not only of basic science but also hesitant to try endeavors that were difficult. “Lions help the kids make their rockets, but take care not to do too much or interfere,” according to a story in the Japanese LION. “They even let the kids use utility knives and scissors. In today’s accident-averse society, children are shielded from anything dangerous or difficult. Therein lies the problem: today’s children will be unable to deal with even the slightest hardship in the future. The Lions are teaching the children not only to make bottle rockets but to be independent, work hard and be proud of their achievements.” The children also learn how to use technology to their advantage. For the first few years, they used hand pumps to pressurize partially water- filled plastic bottles. That method was exhausting. So now they use a compressor. The rockets are flying farther, prompting Lions to affix flags in the ground marking the ever more distant flight of the rockets. AUSTRALIA Angry Bird Gets Lions’ Attention The bird had a brain. The large butcherbird nesting near an apartment complex stayed put whenever an able-bodied man emerged from the building. But elderly Dodie Allen of Ipswich, Australia, who uses a walker, became trapped in her own home. The magpie- like bird would swoop in and claw at her head. “I get sick in the stomach because I know it’s coming after me,” she told the Queensland Times in a story headlined “Woman a Prisoner in Her Own Home.” Accompanying the story was a photo of a nervous-looking Allen clutching her front door. Leave it to Lions to handle a bird problem. Ipswich Lions arranged for traps to be set near the building. The butcherbird didn’t fly into the trap. But a fierce storm took care of the problem. Turns out the bird was attending to a nest. High winds blew the chicks from the nest. Doing what he could, a neighbor took the chicks to a wildlife care facility. Allen now can safely leave her home. NEW ZEALAND Potato Dig Gets a Boost Using forks in the wet ground, the Lions laboriously dug up the potatoes by hand. The farmer who owned the land told the Lions any potatoes they dug up were theirs; the mud had prevented him from using his heavy-duty commercial digger. Many members of the Temuka Pakeke Lions Club are hardy retired farmers, accustomed to physical labor. They grow potatoes and pumpkins for Lions’ fundraisers and also chop kindling wood, bagged and sold to the public. Still, they are in their 60s and 70s. “We would have retrieved a small quantity as it was extremely heavy work,” says Barbara Somerville, president. To the rescue came a digger from America that had not been used in more than two decades. Lion John Wills learned that local farmer Warren Mulligan had an International Harvester single-row digger imported in the early 1950s. The Lions dusted it off, and Mulligan’s son hooked it up to a 35-horsepower Massey Ferguson tractor. The Lions were in business. They quickly dug 3.5 tons of potatoes, which they sorted and divided into smaller bags for sale to the public. The sales netted US$1,500. The yellow potato harvested by Lions is typically used for potato chips. But the Temuka Lions are not only hard workers but also know their way around the kitchen. “We bought a fair share for our own use. They have a lovely flavor—excellent for baking and mashing,” says Somerville. AUSTRIA The Andrews Sisters—and Der Bingle—Sing in Austria Music is universal, transcending language. But words, too, can be universal. The Gmunden Lions in Upper Austria held a “Jazz Night” as a fundraiser. The headliners were the “Andrews Sisters.” The headline in the subsequent story in the Austria LION Magazine was “Swingen in Gmunden.” The land of Mozart and Strauss has an abiding fondness for jazz. The Jazz Night is a long tradition of the 48-member, all-male Gmunden Lions Club. This past year the popular Vienna Swing Sisters sang the hits of the Andrews Sisters. Lisa Jakob, Eva Hin-terreithner and Susanne Fanny Rader took on the roles of LaVerne, Maxene and Patty Andrews, America’s most popular female singers in the 1940s. The set list included “Rum and Coca Cola,” “Tico Tico” and “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen.” Bing Crosby and other male singers of the era also showed up on the bill. Singer Markus Richter handled those tunes. The entertainment amounted to “a recreation of one of the most fascinating eras of musical history.” INDIA Clubs in India Perform Unusual Service Service for two clubs in India is a matter of life—and death. The Vellore and Thiruvannamalai Lions clubs recently coordinated the donation of two cadavers to Christian Medical College in Velorre in southern India. One of the bodies was the father of a Lion, according to the New Indian Express. Vellore Lions also have arranged for the donation of 21 pairs of eyes to the medical college. ECUADOR Remote Villagers Served in Ecuador Lions in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, traveled 16 miles over mountain roads to provide not only health care to villagers but also medical advice to prevent illness and disease. Ten members of the Quito Colonial Lions Club, four doctors and three health care workers spent a day in Pintag to provide exams, medicine and information. More than 150 adults and children were served at a school. “The participants were very interested. There were lot of questions and comments. These activities fill our hearts and help us grow as people and become better human beings,” a Lion told the Spanish LION Magazine. GERMANY ‘Help for Little Ears’ a Big Success Children in tow, some mothers in Peru travel hundreds of miles to a central location to lift their offspring from silence or muffled sound and a murky future to full hearing and an opportunity at a solid education and a promising life. Given overnight accommodations, the parents come from homes that lack computers and smart phones. But their children return home with state-of-the art hearing aids and a shared understanding with their parents on how to work and maintain the sophisticated listening devices. Since 2009, working with a church, German Lions have provided thousands of hearing aids for children in Peru and South Africa. A project of the German Lions’ foundation, Hilk-swerk der Deutschen Lions, Help for Little Ears has succeeded in transforming the lives of needy families who otherwise would have not have access to nor the money to pay for hearing aids. Lions collect used hearing aids and have them expertly refurbished or secure donations of new ones from companies. The hearing aids meet standards issued by the European Union for Hearing Aid Acoustics. Help for Little Ears is a complex operation. In Peru and South Africa, volunteer audiologists and physicians work with the children and parents. German Lions sometimes are present to help fit the aids. The goal for the children, already partly realized in some instances, is for them to attend secondary school and even college perhaps and eventually take up a profession.
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