Monday, October 21, 2013

Special Guests

Meet Frauka and her husband Thomas, here enjoying a glass of Ice Wine, after dinner

They were in Houston this week from Fulda, Germany. Fourteen years ago Frauka, a young German Physician, was part of a Rotary GSE Team that visited Tom's Rotary club.

GSE stands for Group Study Exchange....and I am not sure that it is still a Rotary program. I will try and explain it. A member of a German (or any other country) Rotary club would escort four or five young professionals (not Rotarians) from their district, on an exchange with another Rotary club, somewhere around the world.

They would stay for about a month in what ever district they traveled to. While in that district, (in this case the Germans came to Houston), they would be hosted by Rotarians in various clubs for one week . Houston has like sixty clubs, so only four clubs would take part in their visit. While with your club, you would show them what you considered special about your part of town. Parks, museums, businesses, factories and social service organizations, etc. There would also be parties, lunches and all kinds of social events. One day, during that week, they would go to work with a Rotarian in your club, with a similar job. The candidates would also give presentations (about themselves and their country) to each of the Rotary Clubs.

I felt it was a wonderful program that fostered fellowship and friendship between countries, and also  encouraged those GSE candidates to join Rotary, when they returned to their country. Tom and I took part in countless exchanges.
 We did not host Frauka, when she was here, but we did host another candidate from that group, and gave the going away party.
 We also traveled with the group to a friend's  ranch in the Texas Hill Country. I vividly remember Frauka being so surprised when she saw an armadillo on the ranch. She thought that they were extinct, and part of the prehistoric age! I can still visualize her chasing them through the pasture, with her camera ,until it was almost dark!
Ed (a past district governor of Houston Rotary District 5890) and his wife Robin hosted a dinner (delicious I might add) this week for Frauka and her husband.....which is why we drove to Houston.

We sat up a tripod after dinner and tried for a natural looking picture (ha) of the whole group.

Jenna and Phil, the couple I have yet to mention, hosted Frauka, so many years ago, and they have remained dear friends.
 I forgot to say that it was an exchange. A Houston Rotarian, and a group of young professionals traveled to the German district the same month.

* by young I mean usually between the ages of 25 and 40 years.

Oh dear...I do tend to get wordy when I only post once a week!
See you next Monday!


  1. I had heard about the Rotary but had never to do with it, so it is nice to read your story and explanation about their works. You meet a lot of people from over the world this way indeed.

  2. Friendships know no borders. . .as it should be among world leaders, too.

  3. sort of like foreign exchange students - but with adults. very, very cool. liked the visual you gave of chasing an armadillo around to get photos. :)

  4. am a big fan of all these world exchange programs !
    nothing wrong with getting wordy
    enjoyed the post
    wonder where you are on the photo, the lady with the dark hair? (closest to the front since you had to run from the tripod?)