Chile cool trip for Rotary's Schlotterbeck

Friday, January 26, 2007
Brayden Dahlstrom was crowned 2007 Winter Homecoming King Friday. He is escorted by his mother Khrista and is also the son of Carl Dahlstrom.

When Marian Schlotterbeck left Greencastle for Chile, she didn't realize she'd use up so much film when she arrived.

"When I first got there, I was like, 'Rotary everywhere, everywhere, everywhere,'" Schlotterbeck told a full house of Rotary members at the Walden Inn.

She said she took too many photos of Rotary buildings on her way to her destination, the Unversidad de Concepcion in Concepcion, Chile.

"It's amazing to come home and see a full house," Schlotterbeck said Wednesday.

Schlotterbeck was chosen through Rotary District 6560, which includes Rotary clubs from Indianapolis and Lafayette.

A 2001 Greencastle High School graduate, Schlotter-beck had spent two winter terms in Guatemala while a student at Oberlin College.

She became interested in becoming a Rotary Club Ambassador and found a sponsor in former DePauw University math professor John Anderson.

Schlotterbeck was selected through the district and left for Chile in 2006. She spent nearly one year there studying and teaching while also soaking in the experience.

While in Chile, she stayed in Concepcion. Her host counselor was Mario Suwalsky and she attended Rotary meetings.

"It's beautiful landscape," she told the Rotary members Wednesday. "It's often called the 'land at the end of the Earth.'"

Schlotterbeck was the second student to study abroad through the local Rotary in recent years. Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman studied in Australia via the Rotary Club Ambassadorial scholarship.

She took 10 official Greencastle Rotary Club banners on her trip to give away and came back with six Chile Rotary banners, which she gave to Rotary President Mark Nogel-meier.

While in Chile, Schlotterbeck saw the inauguration of the country's first woman president, Michelle Bachelet. She told the Rotary members Wednesday that Bachelet was a physician and had suffered through the torture of Augusto Pinochet, the country's former dictator, who died on Dec. 10, 2006.

On Wednesday, Schlot-terbeck shared her experiences, including visiting several cities and even Brazil, while in Chile with the Rotary members.

"Chile taught me just why history matters," she said. "My time in Chile was not life-changing, but life-affirming."

She also shared with the members her time with new friend, Tania Paillacar Mutizabal, whom she stayed with for a time while in Chile.

She added her Spanish-speaking skills improved "vastly" during her stay.

Schlotterbeck shared a slideshow with the Rotary members and received a special pin from the Rotary Foundation.

"It was an honor to represent (Rotary) this past year," she said.

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