It’s a story of friendship. Rotary club 5710 meets rotary club 9350.
Richard Ross was the only Topekan to go on the Rotary Friendship Exchange to South Africa.
“You get to respect what you have and learn about the things you don’t,” said Ross.
Typically rotary members wear buttons as nametags. But at Thursday’s meeting, he wore the button they gave him on his trip made from an ostrich feather.
Ross said the biggest similarity between Kansas and South Africa is the friendliness.
“You realize that there are so many commonalities,” said Ross. “You learn what their problems are, what their solutions are, and you find out you have similar problems and hopefully, you can provide solutions.”
Kansas faced a drought this year.
“I think that that worldwide is going to become more and more of a problem,” said Ross. “We get through the drought and people kind of conserve but then they go back to their normal ways.”
South Africa also dealt with a major water shortage.
“It’s a commodity we all should be very careful with and try to protect,” said Ross.
The South African rotarians plan to visit in 2020. Ross said he’ll show them the Brown v. Board historical site and the state capital.
And as for friendship, Ross said he has stayed in touch with his hosts and hope that they will remain lifelong friends.