Rotary becomes a PLAY partner!

These last two Thursdays, I’ve been with Rotary friends in Great Britain, accepting a check of £1007.50 to begin working on the design for our storybook in Madagascar! Grateful to have the support to begin on this adventure. 🙂

District 1145 Governor Peter Boyse and me (Daniella Rabino), accepting the matching grant to begin our projects

District Governor 1145, Peter Boyse

This began with interest from the Rotary Club of Lewes, who were happy to think about how to help us with the dreams they became a big part of, hosting my 2011-12 scholarship year. Alain and I needed the help to be able to start our artistry for this children’s book we imagined. And then, the District jumped in, deciding to match it. I feel really lucky that our first step is sponsored by Rotary friends. Alain is hosted at the research station in the eastern rainforest, Centre ValBio. This grant will allow us to cover design expenses and focus on this project, while station fees are being covered with an education grant from the Three Graces Foundation, supporting rural environmental literacy.

Rotary Club of Lewes’ President Brian McCarthy

These past two Rotary weeks were really enjoyable. I first had the privilege to join the 1145 District Council Meeting, which was filled with biscuits, tea and loads of friendly Rotarians. After my counselor, Jim Hatfield awarded the grant, I got to tell them a bit about Madagascar, and then, they sorted through the day’s agenda very efficiently. Really touched by the kindness and interest encountered at the meeting. Learn about this storybook project here.

Then, we visited the Rotary Club of Lewes to say thanks, and I got to hear Cyril tell us about his society, oldest club in the UK – “Lewes Bowl Society”, around since 1753, with Thomas Paine as a past member. It was fun to hear about the serious love of this castle’s green, and how playing has been such a core part of his life and British identity.

P1020937 (2)

Bowling Green at Lewes Castle

Since picture book illustration is a fairly foreign concept in Madagascar, Alain and I spent a great deal of time developing his style, while beginning artwork for a classroom map of the island’s landscapes, so we could collaborate as brilliantly as we do now. We do love to bicker, but it’s pretty fun, at least for me; Alain better weigh in on that, too!

Sassy Mialy ready to roll. ©PLAY

Sassy Mialy ready to roll.

During the course of the year, we came up with several ideas for introducing the island’s landscapes to add context to the map. Our first version treated the island like a character, hyperbolizing its ecological wonders, but it didn’t feel right. So, we changed it to a girl on a mystical dream-like adventure, but it still didn’t feel quite right. Finally, we came to an adventure straight from our hearts and imaginations about a ring-tailed mongoose! 🙂

Alain and his lemur friend

Artist, Alain Rasolomampiandra and friend, black and white ruffed lemur

Thank you to the club and the District. Do keep in touch as we begin to connect with Rotary in Madagascar and get this project underway! Excited to begin getting a storyboard together to share with you.

Much appreciation,

Daniella and Alain

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.