These are challenging times. The pandemic caused by CoVid-19 has required just about everyone, regardless of country, to make changes in their daily lives. Social distancing, a phrase no one heard of until four months ago, is now the norm. Public gatherings and even small group meetings are discouraged, and in some places, prohibited, which has prompted most of our Optimist Clubs to cancel projects, meetings and fundraising events. Our Optimists in Nigeria face lockdown as do Optimists in Ghana, and Uganda. There is a dusk-to-dawn curfew in Kenya, and lockdowns in India and Nepal, while self-quarantine is the rule in Uruguay. The nations of the Caribbean face similar circumstances depending on the severity of the outbreak.
Despite the challenges of these days there are still instances of “Hope and a Positive Vision,” as a portion of the Optimist International mission statement reads. Students at an engineering college in Kathmandu, Nepal met via video conference call late in March to organize the Kathmandu Engineering College Optimist Club. Students joined the conference from their homes across the country because their campus was closed. A handful of students from the other side of the world joined them. They sit on the executive board for the University of Iowa Hawkeye Optimist Club, which is co-sponsoring this newest group of Nepalese Optimists. Optimist International can also report that when the lockdown in Nepal ends in the middle of April, a new Club in Nawalpur, north of Kathmandu will organize.