Rotary welcomes visitors from Peru

Published 2:40 pm Wednesday, May 6, 2009

As part of its Group Study Exchange program, the Demopolis Rotary Club welcomed four visitors from Peru to our town last week.

Those visiting Demopolis were Adita Miln, a psychologist of 25 years currently working in schools with special-needs children and the team leader of the group; Gabriela Valdez, a psychologist of four years who works in human resources; Viviana Dongo, an industrial engineer working as an information analyst in the largest brewery in Peru; and Jorge Gutierrez, a cardiologist of six years and clinical researcher working in a large state-run hospital.

The four are all from Arequipa, a city of 1.2 million located in southern Peru, the second-largest city in the country next to its capital, Lima.

“Each year, Rotary sponsors a Group Study Exchange,” said Demopolis Rotary member Woody Collins. “It’s a joint venture. We sent a team to Peru the week before this group came here. Our local representative, Meg Rankin, went down with the team from Alabama to Peru.

“Rotary has been doing this for many, many years. We’ve had groups from China, Japan, Australia, England and France. They come up here and visit the Rotary Clubs in our district, and our people go visit them.”

The program requires participants to be at least 25 years old, be a professional and not a member of Rotary. Miln is a member of Rotary and serves as the team leader.

The group was visiting Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital on Wednesday and had a chance to talk about their experiences in the States.

“This is my actually sixth time over here,” said Valdez. “I did other exchange programs when I studied at the university. I love this program because I can learn about the culture, I can improve my English and, with this culture, we are doing some professional studies. For example, we go to some of the enterprises arranged by Rotary to see how our careers compare. For example, we visited Montgomery, and we went to the ALFA insurance company, and I visited with their human resources department and had a chance to exchange information.”

“This is my first time in the United States,” said Gutierrez. “I’m having fun here! It’s been a very busy day. I’ve enjoyed visiting with the people here; they’ve been very nice, and I really appreciate the opportunity to come here.”

“This is my second trip to the United States,” said Dongo. “I’ve been to California to visit friends. This is a good trip for me because it is a professional one, and I have the chance to see what my career is like in another country. I went to Coca-Cola in Montgomery, and that was very interesting for me and my career.”

“This is my fourth trip to the United States,” said Miln. “I’ve really enjoyed meeting the people, and I am grateful for the opportunity.”