Wisconsin Rotary groups help deliver milk in Peru

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FOND DU LAC, Wis. (AP) - Several Wisconsin Rotary clubs have bridged cultural differences to work with their counterparts in Peru to create a successful business in soy milk production that provides food to the poor.

Two Oshkosh Rotary clubs and another in Fond du lac have partnered with a Rotary Club in Lima, Peru to produce more than 660 gallons of soy milk per day. Using the soy milk byproduct, they also make high-protein bread, both of which are given to the poor.

“We got some things right, but there was a lot of learning and trial involved, which is bound to happen when you have such vast cultural differences,” said Bill Thimke, a Rotarian with Oshkosh Rotary Southwest, in a statement.

The groups also work with local municipalities in Peru to make sure the enterprise has water filtration and consistent electrical power.

Action Reporter Media says (http://fondul.ac/OhkRgm ) the Rotarians have overcome setbacks by gathering input from local residents and staying involved.

The groups use what are called soy cows, or processors that grind and cook soybeans into a milk.

“The small soy cows are incredibly easy,” Thimke said. “They’re simply a pressure cooker with a motor that liquefies the soaked soybeans with water and then heats them under pressure, extracting soy milk from the soybeans and water and eliminating the bad part of soy milk, the growth inhibitor.”

Working with other Rotary clubs isn’t the only thing that makes the Wisconsin clubs’ efforts productive. Partnerships with 60 other groups and Peruvian towns help guide their efforts through the country’s cultural conventions and customs issues.

“Our fellow Rotarians in Peru are great in terms of politics and making the connections that we couldn’t make on our own,” said Cathy Zimmerman, co-chair of the Oshkosh Rotary Club International Service Committee. “They make things happen or get others involved.”

While the clubs incur costs in the tens of thousands of dollars for beans, equipment and travel, some say the efforts and traction gained over the more than 10 years of work is worth it.

“Once you get there, you just want to stay,” Thimke says. “The look on children’s faces when you hand them glasses of milk - you can’t get that satisfaction anywhere else. It’s incredible.”

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Information from: The Reporter Media, http://www.fdlreporter.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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