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扶輪故事Rotary story—

德莉莎•席門斯

D'Lisa Simmons

一個失明的尼加拉瓜學生幫助德州扶輪社員看到:即使是「最細微的表示」也很重要

A blind Nicaraguan student helps a Texas Rotarian see the importance of even 'the smallest gesture.'

作者:史坦伯格(Alan Steinberg)

轉載自扶輪月刊2003/09 / THE ROTARIAN 2003/08

 

「我們同樣需要關懷與肯定─我們都是『有用』的人。」

"We all share the same basic needs for loving care and the recognition that we are useful human beings."

每位真正的扶輪人都有故事可說一個捕捉扶輪真義的決定性時刻。在本期雜誌中,我們刊登另外一則「扶輪故事」,此為本刊固定的單元,讓個別扶輪社員描述身為扶輪社員的親身經驗-力行超我服務-如何影響他們的人生。

Every true Rotarian has a story to tell, a defining moment that captures what Rotary is all about. In this issue we offer another installment of "Rotary story," a regular feature in which individuals describe how the hands-on experience of being a Rotarian — putting Service Above Self — has affected their lives. 

扶輪和德莉莎.席門斯(D’Lisa Simmons)的第一次接觸發生在她高中時期。當時她住在美國德州德州市一個臨墨西哥灣的煉油城鎮就讀高三。她在學校裡參加各種社團,包括榮譽學生會、劇團、合唱團、樂隊、儀隊等忙得不可開交。擅長吹英國號和雙簧管的她夢想著未來成為「一個樂隊的指揮或是著名的交響樂團雙簧管樂手」。

Rotary first found D'Lisa Simmons in high school. As a senior in Texas City, Texas, USA — a Gulf Coast refinery town — she kept busy with honor society, thespians, choir, band, and drill team. Gifted on English horn and oboe, she envisioned a career as "a band director or a famous symphonic oboist."

德莉莎•席門斯小傳Meet D'Lisa Simmons

席門斯小檔案:

 

 

德莉莎•席門斯D'Lisa Simmons

Meet D'Lisa Simmons

年齡:40

Age: 40

家鄉:休士頓

Home: Houston

職業:律師

Occupation: Attorney

扶輪經歷:

Rotary history:

大使獎學金學者,1987-88

Ambassadorial Scholar, 1987-88

1990年加入(休士頓)加勒里亞地區扶輪社

Joined Rotary Club of Galleria Area (Houston) in 1990.

歷任扶輪職務:

Rotary offices held:

2001-03年助理地區總監

Assistant governor, 2001-03

2003-04年度地區總監當選人

District governor-elect, 2003-04

2000-01年度第5890地區國際服務委員會副主委

Co-chair, District 5890 International Service Committee, 2000-01

2000-01年度扶輪社長

Club president, 2000-0

1997-99年第5890地區團體研究交換小組委員會主委

Chairwoman, District 5890 Group Study Exchange Subcommittee, 1997-99

關鍵性扶輪經驗:

Defining Rotary experience:

協助尼加拉瓜奇納德加地區的貧困家庭與盲生

Assisting needy families and blind students in Chinandega, Nicaragua

 

為了表彰她在校的優異表現,當地扶輪社提名她為小扶輪安(Junior Rotary Ann)-扶輪在80年代末期正式准許女性加入前對女性社員的稱號並為她舉行一場午宴。現年40歲的席門斯表示:「我當時根本沒想要成為扶輪社員。我只記得照我爸教的用叉子把義大利麵捲來入口,並和一群滿頭白髮的老先生討論我在校各項活動。我以為扶輪就是這麼一回事。」In recognition of her accomplishments in school, the local Rotary club made her a Junior Rotary Ann, a designation that predated women's admission to Rotary in the late 1980s, and feted her with a luncheon. "I wasn't thinking about becoming a Rotarian," says 40-year-old Simmons today. "All I remember is twirling spaghetti on my fork, like my daddy taught me, and talking about my school activities to a bunch of older men with white hair. That's what I thought Rotary was."

扶輪和席門斯在1987年再度重逢。當時她已經放棄音樂夢想,並從休士頓大學的企管系畢業了。可是一連串銀行醜聞和低迷不振的油價對當地經濟與就業市場造成重創。她邊說邊笑:「我當時連秘書工作都找不到,因為我打字太慢了。」於是她進入法學院研讀公司法。接著她突然渴望雲遊四海。

Rotary next touched Simmons in 1987. She'd abandoned music and graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in business administration. But banking scandals and plunging oil prices devastated the local economy and the job market. "I couldn't even get a job as a secretary because I couldn't type worth a hoot," she recalls with a chuckle. So she enrolled in law school to study corporate law. Then the wanderlust hit.

她的一個好友向國際扶輪的扶輪基金會申請到大使獎學金前往澳洲,並寄給她很多熱情洋溢的信,訴說這是個多棒的經驗。在好友的鼓舞下,席門斯也去申請。她好友的母親鼓勵她出外見識,然後再返回校園。席門斯說:「我當時想,如果扶輪能夠負擔一切費用,那就太棒了。而這個決定改變了我的一生。」

One of her best friends went to Austria on an Ambassadorial Scholarship from The Rotary Foundation of RI and sent back glowing reports on how rewarding the experience was. Inspired, Simmons applied for one too. Her friend's mother encouraged Simmons to see the world and then return to school. "I thought: If Rotary can provide for that, wonderful," Simmons says. "And that decision changed my life."

 

 

D'Lisa Simmons (right) in Singapore with then-Rotarian C.J. Chen (far left) and his family: daughter Li, son Jo, and wife Li Jen. Simmons studied in Singapore as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar in 1987-88.

她獲得了獎學金並前往新加坡,一個她全然陌生的國家。她笑著說:「我想到的只有那些老舊的戰爭片,以為自己會搭乘一架兩人座的小飛機,降落在叢林裡的黃土地跑道上。」結果她抵達了一個具世界級水準的現代化機場。這是她對德州以外的世界學到的第一課,當然日後她學到了更多。

She received the scholarship and went to Singapore, a nation she knew little about. "I pictured old war movies and how I'd be in a little-bitty two-seater plane, landing on a dirt runway in a jungle," she laughs. Instead, she arrived at a modern, world-class airport. It was the first of many lessons she would learn about the world beyond Texas.

在新加坡國立大學讀法律的同時,席門斯也出席該國最大的扶輪社,新加坡扶輪社的例會。「他們的國際(服務)委員會在菲律賓有一個計劃。這個計劃募集了數萬美元為菲國鄉村開鑿水井,我那時候才瞭解到扶輪社員做的是很重要的事。」

While studying law at the National University of Singapore, Simmons attended meetings of the Rotary Club of Singapore, the country's largest. "Their international [service] committee had a project in the Philippines. We're talking about tens of thousands of dollars being raised for water wells in rural villages. That's when I realized that Rotarians do important work."

她利用閒暇時間四處走訪亞洲各國,一連串的事件「讓我大開眼界」。她和一個扶輪社員朋友同遊印度時,首次親眼目睹赤貧的慘況。「人們衣衫襤褸地住在街上。兒童向我們乞食,等我們給他們點東西時,他們為了搶食立即在污穢的街道上打成一團。」在印度有錢人家避署勝地的斯里納加(Srinagar),席門斯看到小孩子赤腳走在結霜的路面上。她很想幫忙,但是不知從何做起。

As she explored Asia in her free time, a succession of events "opened my eyes." While touring India with a Rotarian friend, she witnessed extreme poverty for the first time. "People lived in rags on the street. Children begged us for food, and when we gave something, they fought over it in the filthy street." In Srinagar, a summer destination for wealthy Indian families, Simmons saw youngsters running barefoot in the brittle frost. She wanted to help but didn't know how.

在喜馬拉雅山上健行時,席門斯看到更多相同慘況。「山坡上站著一個小女孩,一絲不掛,而氣溫很低。她全身上下穿戴的只有頭髮上的裝飾品首一條像你在紐奧良的狂歡節會看到的塑膠珠鏈。我忍不住想,她是個美麗的孩子,但是她的人生卻如此艱苦。在尼泊爾光是要穿得暖就不是件易事。要覓食也很困難。我發現自己每天扔掉的食物就比這些人一週所食還要多。這讓我感到很慚愧。」

Trekking the Himalayas, Simmons saw more of the same. "Here's this little girl standing on a hill, buck naked, and it's cold. All she's wearing are trinkets in her hair and a plastic beaded necklace, like you see at Mardi Gras in New Orleans. I thought: She's so beautiful, yet her life is so hard. Just staying warm is hard in Nepal. Finding food is hard. I realized that I throw away more food in a day than these people eat in a week. That shamed me."

返回德州後,席門斯完成了法學院的課程,成為一名律師,並加入(休士頓)加勒里亞區(Galleria Area)扶輪社1997年,她所屬扶輪社連同其他8個休士頓地區的扶輪社參與了個在尼加拉瓜奇納德加(Chinandega)進行的世界社區服務計劃,這個計劃成為她扶輪經驗的轉捩點。

Returning to Texas, Simmons finished law school, became a lawyer, and joined the Rotary Club of Galleria Area (Houston). In 1997, her club, along with eight other Houston-area clubs, participated in a World Community Service project in Chinandega, Nicaragua, a turning point in her Rotary experience.

 

 

在扶輪社員贊助的學校提供援助之前,一個尼加拉瓜女童帶著洋娃娃在垃圾場裡搜尋食物

A young Nicaraguan girl, her doll by her side, scrounged for food in a garbage dump before a Rotarian-supported school offered an alternative.

5890地區的扶輪社員長期以來一直在協助由義大利神父馬可.德西(Marco Dessy)為貧困兒童所辦的學校。1998年底的米契颶風來襲後,數百名家庭無家可歸,於是扶輪社員提供更積極的援助。當地孩童在垃圾場搜尋食物的畫面更讓扶輪社員加緊救援的腳步。20006月,身為所屬扶輪社社長當選人的席門斯走訪了奇納德加,親眼看到那些孩子。席門斯說:「我有一張照片是一個小女孩拿著一個破娃娃。她讓人覺得好可憐,雖然她有她的洋娃娃。那是一個人們不再懷抱任何希望的景象。」

Rotarians in District 5890 had begun providing assistance to a school for disadvantaged children operated by Father Marco Dessy, an Italian priest. Their involvement intensified in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch, which left hundreds of families homeless in late 1998. Images of children scavenging the local garbage dump for food lent urgency to the Rotarians' efforts. In June 2000, as president-elect of her club, Simmons visited Chinandega and saw some of those children with her own eyes. "I have a photograph of a little girl with a broken doll," Simmons says. "She's so pitiful, but she has her doll. It's a vision of people without any hope."

於是德州扶輪社員和其他團體,例如美國阿肯色州非營利性的濟貧糧食組織,為奇納德加的家庭提供平價住屋。由這些扶輪社募得的款項獲得國際扶輪扶輪基金會提供等額的配合獎助金,而這兩者加起來的總額又獲得濟貧糧食組織提供等額捐款,這更加激發扶輪社員的熱忱。席門斯說:「根本不用花腦筋,整個活動在我們扶輪地區裡像野火般獲得迴響。每個人都想要參與。結果這個計劃提供了330戶住屋,那些人終於可以離開在垃圾場的生活。」

The Texas Rotarians team with other groups such as Food for the Poor, a nonprofit organization based in Arkansas, USA, to provide low-cost dwellings for Chinandega families. Funds raised by the clubs were equaled by a Matching Grant from The Rotary Foundation of RI, and that total was matched by Food for the Poor, fueling the Rotarians' enthusiasm. "It was a no-brainer," Simmons says. "It took off like wildfire in our district. Everybody wanted a piece. The project provided 330 houses, and now those people are out of the dump."

後續的獎助金則協助改善當地的飲水與衛生,為個別土地豎立藩籬,以及開發一個農業計劃讓居民養植能夠自給自足的作物與家禽。

Subsequent grants helped to improve water and sanitation, erect fencing for individual land plots, and develop an agricultural program to raise subsistence crops and poultry.

同樣在此行期間,席門斯走訪了由扶輪社員贊助的聖西亞啟明學校一個專門收容在別處無法生存的盲童的庇護所。有些學生原本在家中被心焦的父母捆手綁腳,只為了不讓他們四處遊蕩。席門斯記得有個小女孩告訴她從來不知道跑步時風吹在臉上是什麼感受,因為她一直都被綁起來。席門斯解釋:「在尼加拉瓜,如果你是盲人的話,你就好像根本不存在一樣。也沒有任何為盲人提供的社會服務。馬可神父的學校收了20個盲童,教導他們點字法以及如何為自己穿衣、用餐具吃飯。其中有些孩子後來獲准進入一般學校就讀,而且表現良好。」

On the same trip, Simmons toured the Rotarian-supported Santa Lucia School for the Blind, a refuge for children who faced an otherwise bleak existence. Some students had come from homes where they had been bound hand and foot by desperate parents to keep them from wandering off. Simmons recalls one girl saying that she'd never felt the breeze on her face from running because she was tied up all her life. "In Nicaragua," Simmons explains, "if you're blind, you're also invisible. There are no social services for the blind. Father Marco put 20 blind kids in the school, where they learn Braille and how to dress themselves and eat with tableware. Some later matriculated into regular schools and do very well."

 

 

席門斯在20023月與她輔導的尼加拉瓜盲生艾弗琳.薩帕塔及其家人Simmons with her arm around Evelyn Zapata, the blind Nicaraguan student she mentored, and Evelyn's family in March 2002.

在這所學校,席門斯遇到一個20歲的學生,叫做艾弗琳.薩帕塔(Urbina

Zapata)。她忙不迭地告訴席門斯:「我想成為一名律師。」當席門斯告訴她:「如果你保持良好成績,並且唸完大學的話,你就可以做到」時,艾弗琳的臉整個亮了起來。席門斯瞭解到這是第一次有人如此鼓勵這個女孩。幾週後,她寄給艾弗琳一份禮物;一條附有一個天使的幸運手鍊,並寫封短箋:「我希望你一切順利。

請繼續來上學,別忘了我們一直惦念著妳。」

At the school, Simmons met a 20-year-old student named Evelyn Urbina Zapata, who immediately said to her, "I want to be a lawyer!" When Simmons replied, "If you keep up your grades and get a college degree, you can do it," Evelyn's face lit up. Simmons realized that this was the first time anyone had ever encouraged the girl. Weeks later, she sent Evelyn a gift: a charm bracelet with an angel, and a note that read: "I hope you're doing well. Please stay in school and know that we're thinking about you."

20023月,席門斯重返尼加拉瓜,為艾弗琳帶來一台點字打字機。艾弗琳此時已經在里昂的 高中就讀2年級。這是席門斯為自己的生日,向自己的先生要的唯一一樣禮物。她知道艾弗琳夢想進入大學,但是她需要靠著點字法把中學唸完。

In March 2002, Simmons returned to Nicaragua with a Braille typewriter for Evelyn, who was then a high school sophomore in León. It was the only gift Simmons wanted from her husband for her own birthday. She knew Evelyn dreamed of college but needed Braille to get through public school.

席門斯回憶道:「她真的好高興。她跳來跳去,笑得點不攏嘴。艾弗琳把紙放進打字機裡,開始打字。看到她如此欣喜,真的是我收過最棒的生日禮物之一。」

"She was just so excited," Simmons remembers. "She hopped around, smiling ear to ear. Evelyn threaded paper in the machine and began typing. Her exuberance was one of the best birthday gifts I ever received."

稍後席門斯與里昂的尼加拉瓜大學校長梅帝納(Ernesto Medina)博士碰面,後者承諾只要艾弗琳繼續保持優異成績,她就鐵定能夠進入該所大學就讀。席門斯趕回奇納德日告訴艾弗琳這個消息.結果弗琳也有個驚喜要給她。原來趁著席門斯不在時,艾弗琳打了一封信給她,這會兒用西班牙話大聲唸給她聽。來自德州謙卑國際(Humble International)扶輪社,擔任奇納德加計劃領導人的胡艾佐(Frand Huezo)替她翻譯,席門斯則邊聽邊寫下這些字句:

Afterward, Simmons met with Dr. Ernesto Medina, chancellor of the University of Nicaragua in León. Dr. Medina promised that if Evelyn maintained her high grades, she'd have a seat at the university. Simmons rushed back to Chinandega to tell Evelyn, who had a surprise of her own. While Simmons was away, Evelyn had typed a note to her, which she now began to read aloud in Spanish. Frank Huezo, a member of the Rotary Club of Humble Intercontinental, Texas, and a leader in the Chinandega projects, translated as Simmons wrote down the words:

收到妳的禮物,我既激動又高興。它將對我課業有極大幫助,對我大學學業也會很有助益。我在心裡一直惦念著妳,而且時時刻刻記著妳。當我收到(幸運手鍊)和卡片時,內心的激動難以用言語形容。我一直把它們帶在身邊。妳讓我覺得自己是個有用的人。我非常感謝妳和妳慷慨的舉措。老天爺讓我有幸碰上了一個天使,那就是妳。

I feel emotional and happy to have received your gift. It will help me very much in my school and help very much in my university studies. I've always kept you in my mind, and I always remember you in every moment. It is impossible for me to describe the great feeling I had inside when I received [the charm bracelet] and card. I keep [them] very close to me. You make me feel like a useful person. I am thankful to you and your generous gestures. Heaven gave me the joy to meet an angel when I met you.

席門斯聽完後突發奇想問道:「艾弗琳,妳想要摸摸看我的臉嗎?」女孩突然開始啜泣,席門斯嚇壞了,後來胡艾佐她解釋,艾弗琳所以哭出來是因為她之前一直不好意思要求能否有「見」她朋友的機會。席門斯說:「我告訴艾弗琳沒關係,可是她還是不肯碰我。最後我拉著她的手到我臉上,她輕輕撫過如蜻蜓點水般輕柔。她注意到我的大眼睛,還有我的頭髮是短而捲的,就像她的一樣。那是我和他人分享過最親密的一刻。」

Simmons then asked impulsively, "Evelyn, would you like to touch my face?" The young woman burst into sobs, and Simmons was mortified until Huezo explained that she was weeping because she'd been too shy to ask for a chance to finally "see" her friend. "I told Evelyn it was OK, but she still wouldn't touch me," Simmons says. "Finally, I pulled her hands to my face, and she passed them over like 'butterfly kisses,' light as a flutter. She noticed my big eyes and that my hair was short and curly, like hers. It was one of the most intimate moments I ever shared with anyone."

6個月後,席門斯在返回美國科羅拉多州艾斯本時途經丹佛機場,那兒她巧遇前任殘障奧運賽的滑雪冠軍南西.史帝文斯(Nancy Stevens)。這位盲人女性在導盲犬的協助下四處行走自如,令席門斯嘆為觀止。她們倆人在搭車前往艾斯本的路上開始聊天。席門斯回憶道:「我發現原來南西自小開始,就不讓她的兄弟姊妹把她當小貝比看待,所以從來不會有人告訴她,她不能做這個或那個。但是在尼加拉瓜,大家經常告訴盲人他們什麼都不能做。」

Six months later, on her way to Aspen, Colo., USA, Simmons was in the Denver airport when she encountered Nancy Stevens, a former champion skier in the Paralympics. Simmons was impressed with the blind woman's ability to navigate easily with her guide dog. The two chatted during the bus ride to Aspen. "It struck me that as a child, Nancy didn't let her siblings baby her, so she was never told she couldn't do something," Simmons recalls. "Whereas in Nicaragua, the blind are often told they can't do anything."

當她得知史帝文斯擁有音樂教育的大學文憑,而且獨自生活,為美國社會保險局檢查殘障給付申請一份很不簡單的工作,並且以騎自行車和攀岩為其休閒活動時,席門斯知道這位女性將對聖露西亞學校的學生起極大的激勵作用。史帝文斯同意了,於是他們安排在200211月成行。史帝文斯為那些學生帶了一台點字機和枴杖,並教導他們如何使用。她還示範如何使用她自己所用的一台盲人專用PDA-附有彈出式點字鍵盤,與自動說出所有輸入內容的語音系統的一個電子設備。

When she learned that Stevens has a college degree in music education, lives independently, works a demanding job examining disability claims for the U.S. Social Security Administration, and enjoys bike riding and rock climbing, Simmons knew the woman would be an inspiration to the students at Santa Lucia. Stevens agreed, and a trip was arranged for November 2002. Stevens brought the students a Braille machine and walking canes, which she taught them to use. She also demonstrated her own "blind person's PalmPilot" — an electronic gadget with a pop-up Braille keyboard and voice activator that speaks back all the entries.

史帝文斯的聖露西亞之行極為成功,也鼓舞了第5890地區扶輪社員更積極地支援該所學校。席門斯表示,各項包括安排眼科醫師成立義工醫療隊,並向扶輪基金會申請獎助金以提供該校電腦與點字印表機。在談到這些盲童仍然面對的社會偏見時,席門斯表示:「他們需要我們的幫助,因為沒有任何人應該被漠視。這不正是扶輪所應為嗎?扶輪專門幫助那些被漠視與無助的族群。扶輪教給我好多人生的道理。我在國外度過的時光讓我學到,原來每件事都可以從不同角度來觀察,而只要你真的在乎,要達到一個目標的方法可以有很多種。艾弗琳.薩帕塔收到幸運手鍊的興奮之情也讓我發現,小小的表示,或是簡短幾句打氣的話,可以讓另一個人的人生全然改觀。更重要的是,扶輪服務提醒了我們,不論我們身居何處,我們同樣需要關懷與肯定,就像艾弗琳說的,我們都是『有用』的人。」

Stevens' trip to Santa Lucia was a success and inspired Rotarians in District 5890 to intensify their support for the school. Simmons says plans include organizing volunteer teams of eye surgeons and applying for grants from The Rotary Foundation to supply the school with computers and Braille printers. "They need our help, because nobody should be invisible," Simmons says of the societal bias the children still face. "That's what Rotary does, right? It helps the invisible and the helpless. Rotary has taught me so much about life. My time abroad taught me there's more than one perspective on everything and many ways to accomplish a goal, once you care. And Evelyn Zapata's excitement over a charm bracelet taught me that the smallest gesture, or a few words of encouragement, can alter someone's entire life. Most importantly, Rotary service reminds us that wherever we live, we all share the same basic needs for loving care and the recognition that — as Evelyn said — we are 'useful' human beings."

作者:史坦柏格(Alan Steinberg)6月號英文扶輪月刊也為扶輪故事寫一篇關於Marie-Irene Richmond-Ahoua的特別報導。

Alan Steinberg profiled Marie-Irene Richmond-Ahoua in the June issue.