By: Emma Bodwell DISC7780 Chair
International Cafés have proved to be a successful way of getting the word out about district projects that Clubs and individual Rotarians are working with or sponsoring. In this age of Zoom and virtual meetings, it is an opportunity to hear from folks from around the country and the world about projects and opportunities for all of us. 
Held every six weeks, this past week’s International Cafe featured the District Outreach Team which visited Columbia in February 2020.  Led by Emma Bodwell of the Bridgton-Lake Region Rotary Club, the team included Jeremy Gould of Freeport, Deb Boxer of Scarborough and Leo Gagnon of Portsmouth. 
During the Café, the Team shared how they spent 2 days at the Project Fair in Cali, Colombia, and then the next 10 days travelling to various projects presented at the fair, making Rotary connections along the way.   They travelled from Cali to Medellin and Barranquilla.  Some of the projects they visited included: 
  • Grow in the CER - a school in a rural community looking for ways to help support their students and their families. 
  • Safe Sleep Safe Babies - a project to fund the making of ecofriendly cribs to help prevent SIDS
  • Cafe Noel - a Pediatric Oncology Unit 
  • Drums for Peace  
  • Empowerment of Farm Women
If you would like the 2020 Outreach Team to present their trip to your club or if you are interested in attending next year's Project Fair, please reach out to
This week’s Café, attended by over 50 people, also covered a project delivering medical supplies to a hospital in Senegal, and subsequently Kenya, in partnership with Rotary Clubs in Colorado. And, finally, the Rotary Club of Oxford North, England, used technology to “visit virtually" the clubs with Oxford in their names in Europe, Africa and North America.  We caught them visiting the Oxford Hills Club.
All in all, the International Café is just another example of how folks with common interests from Europe, Africa, North and South American can come together and share important work and create partnerships.  
For more information about upcoming International Cafes, check out and Like the District 7780 DISC Facebook page at
If your club would like to be highlighted on a future International Cafe, please reach out to Emma Bodwell: or 207-595-1138.