Dear Rotary Club of Mosman
Now it has been three years, since I returned from my exchange in Australia. Therefore, to honour the occasion I thought of giving you a brief update of what is going on in my life at the moment. There is a possibility that I repeat a few aspects I already menBoned in my last leCer; however, it has been a while and hopefully I can refresh someone’s memory who could not keep all the details.
I finished my 7 months of civil service in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland, bringing my Italian to a decent level of speaking, whereas I was not really able to improve my wriBng. This is because doing physical labour did not give me reason to write things down. The reading however I am sBll pracBcing to this day to improve my grammar.
When you are reading this I will already have finished my Bme on the mountain farm in the French speaking part of the Swiss alps in the famous Gruyère region. In my schoolBme I was able to enjoy ten years of French lessons. However, this did not enable me to speak fluently to naBve speakers. The theory we learned in school differs quite a bit from the language that is actually spoken. Thanks to the obligaBon of civil service, I was now also given the chance to pracBce my French, now being fairly fluent in speaking. On the farm I could see an enBrely different way of life. Me, being given the easy treatment of working 10-12 hours a day whereas the others never finished short of 15 hours. The only free Bme siZng at the table eaBng with the family. Physical exhausBon being a permanent state and no leisure acBviBes due to the lack of spare Bme.
StarBng next week, I take two weeks of a\er which I start doing my last five weeks of civil service. I decided to do this last part on an adventure playground in my hometown. There, children can build treehouses cook over the fire, do other acBviBes like boaBng etc. free of charge, enabling them to see the world differently to everyday city life.
I think the civil service was a great opportunity not only to evolve personally but supporBng the local communiBes. I worked in a reBrement home, in a shelter for refugees, I worked in nature preservaBon also geZng an inside view of forestry as well as in alpine farming.
During that Bme, I realised more and more what Rotary stands for. Aiding local communiBes all over the world, enabling a beCer tomorrow for people that are disadvantaged in this world. Not everybody was given a fair chance being born onto this earth and it is the job of those more fortunate to try to make those condiBons equal.
I personally, being from another rich country and able to grow up without existenBal threats am also trying my best to improve this world wherever I can. This does not only include helping local communiBes but also taking responsibility for the global problems we are causing. Only telling ourselves that others are worse does not change anything. Of course, there needs to be wide government acBon for many problems that we are facing today. On the other side, making the right personal decisions and altering our own way of life, each and every one of us goes a long way. Trying with small choices to stop the exploitaBon of poorer countries either through choosing sustainable and fair products not only when it comes to food but also electronics and other luxury goods. Or abstaining from certain things

that are unnecessary altogether. Reuse and recycle instead of buying new every Bme. When buying a new mobile phone is o\en giving money to miliBas in the civil war in Congo why not conBnue to use the old one. I have also been trying to make a difference when it comes to climate change. Me, flying to Australia and living in a rich country with many luxuries that come with that, I am a notable part of the problem. Since I returned from my exchange I have been living on a vegetarian diet, minimising heaBng in the winter, buying almost exclusively seasonally and locally and reducing the consumpBon of unnecessary goods, to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. Also taking acBon in protests and persuading people the vote for the now passed Swiss law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I am well aware of the fact that this solely will not solve the problem. Also, because big corporaBons especially in the fossil fuel sector are a big problem as well as concrete producBon. Nevertheless, it is important to take personal acBon each and every one of us doing our part as good as we can in our situaBon.
Hence all this, I would like to thank all of you for trying to make a difference, doing your best every day for a beCer tomorrow. I really value the acBons of organisaBons like Rotary, where people accept the responsibility they have, who see the problems and do not look away.
All the best to you from Switzerland Kai
PS: I will be starBng my studies in interdisciplinary sciences in September.

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Mon Jul 24 , 2023
The photo shows a small selection of the crew operating the fundraiser at Bunnings on Sunday. Many thanks to Dave and IPP Mark for organizing this and for spending most of the day over a hot selection of onions and sausages! Many of our members participated and there is no […]
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