Welcome to April.
April is Maternal and Child Health Month
Last month we highlighted the efforts of Rotarians to provide clean water and sanitation to areas of the world lacking these basic necessities.  In many of these same regions, poor living conditions contribute to an alarming rate of mortality among newborns and birthing mothers.
Here are some statistics that will open up your eyes. According to the World Health Organization, nearly
830 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.  Many times, this is due to the lack of training and lifesaving equipment which is so readily available in developed countries.   Lack of proper sanitation is indeed another major cause of child mortality across the globe due to infectious diseases.  Yet, even in the United States, we see a need for improvement as we have the highest rate of maternal deaths among developed countries with a rate nearly 3 times that of the next closest nation. 
In the month of April dedicated to maternal and child health, we reflect on the many efforts that Rotarians and Rotary International have been involved in to remedy this situation. 
In 2017, I had the experience of a lifetime, when I joined PRID Phil Silvers on a (VOCATIONAL TRAINING TEAMS) VTT in Uganda – empowering women. There were 4  if not 5 different languages translating critical information in a one-room conference building. Many of the women, at a very young age, had over 5 children. This is when I was able to actually feel the impact and power of Rotary. The knowledge that was shared over the brief time that I was there, showed me that Rotary felt the importance of working with women for their betterment and the betterment of their families. I shall never forget this experience.
This has been a very long journey this year for all Rotary Clubs in District 5500. I am happy to say we have some excellent leadership across our District. As hard as it has been, we had Clubs rise to the occasion and figure out a way to move forward. I am so extremely proud of our Rotary Clubs. They took “outside the box” to a different level, they actually threw out the box.  I also want to give a shout-out to all our District leaders, taking traditional programs and developing virtual platforms. Assembly Training to online training, RLI, RYLA, coming up in April 17th, 4 Way Test Speech Contest, and soon to be the Virtual District Conference on June 4-5. WHEW! When given a challenge, District 5500 Rotarians have risen to the occasion. I thank everyone for saying “we can do this”, instead of “we never did it this way, and it just can’t be done” BRAVO 
So what is so special about April? Here is what I found on the Internet!
  • Those who were born in April have a diamond as their birthstone – who doesn’t love a diamond
  • On April 15, 1912, the famous Titanic ship hit an iceberg and sunk on her first and only voyage.
  • On April 11, 1970, Apollo 13 was launched and ran into difficulties about two days later. It was then that the famous line “Houston, we have a problem” was said, and is today usually misquoted.
  • For all the car enthusiasts out there, Ford unveiled their first Mustang on April 17, 1964, costing $2,368.
  • April Fool’s Day April 1st!. When the British news network aired a three-minute segment about Swiss spaghetti farmers plucking long strands of pasta straight from tree branches, hundreds of credulous viewers wrote in asking how they could cultivate their own spaghetti tree. The BBC replied, with quintessentially British aplomb: “Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.” The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest” — which aired, unsurprisingly, on April 1 — has been declared one of the greatest April Fools pranks all of all time. It was the first time any major news organization had used television to bamboozle its audience so thoroughly. (Panorama – Journalist Richard Dimbleby)
I want to thank all the members of District 5500 for giving me a year to be proud of.  When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, except in my family we make limoncello!
Have a wonderful April. Those clubs that are planning on meeting in person, please take every precaution to protect all our members. Once the pandemic is behind us, you will be happy that you aired on side of caution.
Happy April!
Yours in Rotary
Diane Ventura-Goodyear