JAMAICA Jamaica Smiles Thanks to Lions You’ll smile, too, as you view this inspiring video that reveals how smiling is easy when your dental health is improved, thanks to dedicated Lions. BELGIUM/LEBANON/SYRIA Joy of Sports Pushes Aside War Weariness Victims of a vicious war, the children played tug-of-war. They competed in three-legged sprints, egg-and-spoon races, and, of course, soccer. For a day, children at the crowded refugee camp in Beirut could revert to being kids. “We had a great time with the kids. It was nice to see them run around and just be children,” says Maddy Kelleher, 24, the daughter of Dom Kelleher of the Brussels Heraldic Lions Club in Belgium. The younger Kelleher volunteered at the Lions-sponsored sports camp for Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The Shatila refugee camp is supported by Belgium-based SB Overseas, a nonprofit founded to assist people in the Middle East affected by war. The Brussels Heraldic Lions Club regularly collects clothes, shoes and toys for SB Overseas. The English-speaking club primarily consists of expatriate businessmen; its 22 members hail from a dozen nations. The sports camp was held on a field adjacent to an SB Overseas school for refugees. The school is run by volunteers and welcomes students and staff regardless of race or religion. “It’s like a family. There is no hierarchy,” says Kelleher. “SB is teaching the children to protect and empower themselves with education and hope, not guns and violence.” The children spent the day running, laughing and forgetting about their ordeal. “The Shatila camps do not have many safe places to play,” says Kelleher. “These are young people with a lot of energy. It’s important they exercise.” JAPAN Cod Specialty Has Cult Following Locals in Shonai, a small town near the Japanese coast, like to say: “You cannot talk about the winter here without talking about kandarajiru.” That’s an ultra-popular chunky cod stew. The Sakata Lions Club make one of the most popular. Eating cod in winter in this region is, well, elemental. The Japanese character for codfish has two components: a symbol for “fish” and one for “snow.” In the cold winters, cod plump up and put on fat as they prepare to lay eggs. “Kandara” means cold codfish. In nearby Sakata City, along with small restaurants and fishing cooperatives, Sakata City Lions sell their cod at a stall during the Sakata Japan Sea Kandara Matsuri Festival. Lions have used the same secret recipe, based on an entrée at a sushi restaurant, since 2004. Lions painstakingly prepare the cod in a multistep process using three pots. In one pot miso and green onions are added to a stock soup made from bonito. Other ingredients include sake lees, rock laver and the secret ingredient. The cod is served in various ways including steeped in soy sauce and with minced shrimp. Some prior customers, enamored with the Lions’ cod, show up with their own pots to fill. One year the 83-member club sold all 400 portions in two hours. Last year, assisted by Sakata Sawayaka Lions, the club sold 1,200 meals in two days. HUNGARY Rare Book Returned After 61 Long Years Lions from Hungary and California who had never met before gathered near the stage at the end of one of the crowded plenary sessions of the 100th International Convention in Chicago. What brought them together was a rare book secretly spirited out of Hungary for safekeeping during the chaos of the Hungarian uprising in 1956. The book was headed home to Hungary after 61 years, and the two delegations of Lions celebrated their deed and new friendship with some libations and U.S. pub grub at a Rock Bottom restaurant. The international intrigue focused on “Letters from Turkey,” a 10-pound, colorfully illustrated tome published in 1895 and written by Kelemen Miles, a Transylvanian nobleman. Miles’ memoir, written in a series of 207 letters, details his early 18th-century efforts to liberate his homeland from the Habsburg monarchy and his bitter exile in France and Turkey. The valuable book was in possession of the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest−until the 1956 revolution. It somehow ended up with Istvan Nemeth III, who lived in a small town 30 miles from Budapest. Nemeth’s brother-in-law is Kazmer Simon, born in 1939 in Budapest. Simon soon immigrated to Boston, then moved to Los Angeles where he worked for UCLA as a bio-technician and joined the Bishop Lions in 1997. Simon eventually received the book from Nemeth and decided to return it to the museum. California Lions reached out to Mihaly Kokeney, 2016-17 president of the Budapest Central Lions Club and a former official of the Ministry for Welfare and Health, by contacting Lions Clubs International. District 4 L1 Governor Steven Morgan and Region Chairperson Stan Smith of the Bishop Lions were instrumental in planning the handover of the book. So sometimes service as a Lion goes beyond usual tasks and involves sweeping historical events. “How many times in a lifetime do you get a chance to do something like this?” asks Morgan. NEW ZEALAND Corny Success Story for Club As in Iowa or Illinois, sweet corn is a delectable, if messy, treat in New Zealand. “We put butter and salt and pepper on it and let it drip down your face. Yum, yum,” says Rod McDonald, president of the Marton Lions Club. Fellow club member Ian Williams, a farmer, grows corn, and he’s lent his expertise and part of his farm to the club for the past dozen years. He grows sweet corn on two acres solely for the benefit of the club and personally delivers it to markets as far as 50 kilometers (31 miles) away. The corn is a big hit. “Sweet corn, as the name suggests, is very sweet and juicy, and the people of Marton look forward to buying it each season,” says Kate Williams, Ian’s wife. The club hawks an ear of corn for 60 cents (US 43 cents) and sells nearly 6,000 cobs each season. The $3,500 (US$2,800) raised goes toward youth projects and other concerns. A Lion since 1982, Williams grows many acres of maize for stock feed and grazes cattle on his land as well. Busy like other farmers, he nevertheless prepares his fields for the Lions’ corn, ploughs it and then picks and packs it before heading to the markets. Kate also donates her time to the corn project, and the club recently gave the couple a mantle clock in appreciation. This past year the harvesting was made easier thanks to a small tractor and trailer, courtesy of Lion Dave Hammond. A fertilizer company donated fertilizer to reduce costs. Growing corn is not the only way Williams contributes to the club. His machinery is used for the club’s firewood project.
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