Rotary’s GSE leader finds Zambo ‘gorgeous’ PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 12 February 2013 14:24

Visiting the country and in particular Zamboanga City for the first time, Rotary Group Study Exchange (GSE) leader Tommi Drake from Oregon, USA has vowed to help spread goodwill and the knowledge that the city “is a wonderful place to come and visit”.

“I absolutely agree with him [Mayor Celso Lobregat], Zamboanga is a gorgeous city,” Drake, past president of Rotary District 5110 of Oregon and Northern California, USA, proclaimed after listening to Mayor Lobregat’s briefing about the city’s history, competencies and development strategies in City Hall Monday morning.

Drake along with Beth McGrady, Kendra Northam, Lauretta Prince and Emily Ring—all from Oregon, compose the Rotary study exchange team that is on a 6-day cultural and vocational exchange opportunity in Zamboanga from February 8-14.

The group, accompanied by Rotary Zamboanga Club presidents composing Rotary District 3850 led by James Makasiar yesterday morning paid a courtesy call on Mayor Lobregat in City Hall where they were they were briefed on various aspects about the city.

“This is a peace mission and also to find out if there are ways to collaborate on some programs and projects”, Drake said.

She admitted that not one of the members of her team has been to the Philippines before. She said the group heard about the area’s potentials and some reports about security woes specifically on the east side of Mindanao.    But when asked how the group finds the country and Zamboanga in particular, the team leader exclaimed: “It’s beautiful, we love it. We have been to the water project and to the Sta. Cruz Island and the food is fabulous”.

She likewise expressed agreement to Mayor Lobregat who explained about the new branding “Asia’s Latin City” which is mainly due to the fact that Zamboanga is the only city in the country and in the entire Asia where majority speaks, understands and converses in chabacano.  “I haven’t seen the flowers, so I think that was a good change, adopt the [Asia’s] Latin City [branding] and I am picking up some of the language that may help me a lot”.

She added: “Thank you so much for our trip and we will certainly spread the goodwill and the knowledge that this is a wonderful place to come and visit”.

The Rotary’s GSE program is a unique cultural and vocational exchange opportunity for businesspeople and professionals between the ages of 25 and 40 who are in the early stages of their careers. For four to six weeks, team members experience the host country’s culture and institutions, observe how their vocations are practiced abroad, develop personal and professional relationships, and exchange ideas.

While in the city, the team members stay in homes of foster parents, who are mostly members of the Zamboanga Rotary Clubs. — Sheila Covarrubias