The GFWC/Ohio Woman's Club of Winterville "took a trip down south" as they learned a little bit about Uruguay courtesy of one of their own.
Member Robbie Young shared her experiences and observations from having traveled there in 2006, 2007 and 2009 as part of a World Gospel Mission team.
The presentation came at the club's Jan. 16 meeting held at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville with Young first offering some general information about what is the smallest country in South America.
Club President Barb Thermes, left, with fellow member and program speaker Robbie Young
-- Janice Kiaski
It has near perfect weather year round with seasons opposite ours; beach country with Punta del Este a popular resort for the rich and famous; and a population of about 3 million, half of whom reside in Montevideo, the capital city.
The people there are "late-nighters" whose normal dinner hour is around 9 p.m. or 10 p.m.; they are talkative and enjoy debate; and the customary greeting for men and women is a kiss on the cheek, she said.
Young shared photos with the club to give a flavor of her travels there as she explained the people of Uruguay are beef eaters with two-thirds of the land used to raise livestock, mostly cattle.
But there's "a flip side" to pleasant weather and pretty terrain, according to Young, as Uruguay is one of the least religious countries in South America with a high percentage of atheists and agnostics and the presence of cults and voodoo.
She said 20 percent of the people are clinically depressed, it has a more than 70 percent divorce rate, and it has the highest rate of suicide in the western hemisphere.
"When I went there, I could sense that," Young said referring to the depression aspect, having suffered depression herself for many years.
When opportunities presented themselves, Young said she witnessed about the love of Jesus Christ, which is her passion, and was thankful for the opportunity to do so. "I love to talk to people about the love of Jesus," Young said. "God broke my heart for these people, and I became a prayer warrior for them."
A published poet, Young closed with the a cappella singing of a poem she said she was inspired to write while there, which began with the words: "Open the eyes of Uruguay, Oh let them see, and set them free, Open the eyes of Uruguay, then they will know they have a savior."
President Barb Thermes, who introduced Young, presided at the business meeting where Natalie Doty led in opening ceremonies; CarolynLee Barrett, recording secretary, gave her report; Joyce Palmer, treasurer, overviewed club finances; and Linda Cipriani, corresponding secretary, read a thank-you note from representatives of Valley Hospice who were the program presenters at the club's November meeting. She also read a letter from Rosalie Falbo who withdrew her membership from the club and provided a donation of $500.
Marjean Sizemore, who wears dual hats as the president of the GFWC/Ohio Southeast District and as first vice president of the Wintersville club, reported on the "very, very good" winter board meeting she attended that included discussion on the April convention. It will include a collection of gently used women's clothing, purses and shoes for its Dress for Success program that helps women who are living in shelters and have been victims of domestic violence move into the workforce better prepared. Domestic violence awareness is the General Federation of Women's Club's signature project. Club members can help by bringing donations for it.
Sizemore, who will be installed as the OFWC recording secretary later this year, also reminded members that the Woman's Club of Mingo Junction will host Legislation Day on March 22.
In committee reports, Donna Phillips, arts chair, noted nursing home recipients of cards the club prepared were appreciated and plans are to do Easter cards as well.
Linda Nolf, international outreach chair, reported coupons collected last month totaled $2,985.85 and went to an Army base in Germany.
Nolf explained the intent behind a February fundraiser calendar that encourages a daily donation with proceeds to benefit the GFWC Success for Survivors Scholarship. It is among the club's February service projects. The club also will be participating in the Heifer project.
Judy Weaver, ways and means chair, distributed order forms for the club's greeting card, calendar and note card fundraiser with orders due back in at the next meeting.
Under new business, the nominating committee comprised of Fran Sohovich, Nancy Smith and Claudia Dorich presented the two-year slate of officer nominees that was accepted with Barb Thermes continuing as president; Robbie Young, first vice president; Natalie Doty, second vice president; Donna Phillips, corresponding secretary; Joyce Palmer, treasurer; and CarolynLee Barrett, recording secretary. They will be installed later this year.
Nancy Antill chaired the hostesses committee for the January meeting that also included Suzy Crawford, Martha Alloggia, Bonnie DiDomenico and Claudia Clevenger.
The noon luncheon and business meeting on Feb. 20 will have an arts theme with Gerald Vansyoc of the Center of Music and Art in Wintersville listed as the program presenter. His theme will be "The Process of Creativity."
Judy Anastasio will chair the hostess committee that also will include Nancy Hukill, Joan Martinez, Paula Nutter, Gloria Sergakis and Rosemarie Cieslak.