Saturday, 15 May 2010

Rockdale County

Wednesday 12th May


Bright and early we were once again reunited. This time, we gave our presentation to the Rotary Club of Rockdale County at the local hospital. This is the home club of our wonderful GSE coordinator Gary Moore and the dedicated early morning Rotarians numbered about 42.

We have been informed that Rockdale County is the second smallest county in Georgia and was so named because it was comprised of all of the unwanted rocky land from surrounding counties when it was originally founded. It is far from unwanted now however as the town of Conyers is lovely with some beautifully restored buildings and public spaces with independent and individual shops, restaurants and bars which the team is hell-bent on experiencing (just to support independent retailers and local economies you understand).

After our presentation (15 down, 2 to go...) we were sent out on individual vocational tours. Steve toured around Conyers Fire Department, Gareth visited City Hall, Roy enjoyed a tour of Rockdale Youth Soccer Association and Allison was met by Harriet who showed her the old Goal house, Railway Depot and historic district. Andrea also visited the Rockdale Cares and Medically Fragile Children Facility. Thanks to all who showed us around.

At 12.30pm lunch was served at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit. This historic Cistercian monastery can be traced all the way back through time to 1944 and houses around 40 Trappist monks who come here to live a more spiritual lifestyle. To dedicate themselves to their cause they have restricted themselves to one hour per week of television and unlimited internet access. To finance the monastery they run a number of businesses from this site including a popular retreat for people and groups in search of peace, quiet and contemplation, a bonsai nursery, a ‘green’ burial ground (eco friendly), a stained glass manufactory and a bakery which produces some heavenly fudge! The meatloaf was pretty good too.

After lunch and the tour of the Monastery Steve and Allison went to update the blog whilst Andrea, Roy and Garth saddled up and rode off into the sunset (for an hour or two) at Linda’s Riding School.

After meeting up again at 5pm the team requested that rather than go back with their respective foster parents to rush around getting ready for the evening meal, they should be allowed to sample the delights of Conyers and relax in the sunshine. Our request was granted and the feeling of freedom rushed through our bodies as we rushed towards the nearest bar and immediately ordered a round of Tequilas on the rocks. Three or four rounds later we were happy in the haze of a drunken hour, pleasantly soaking up the beautiful, early evening ambiance of the Old Town.

Our hosts picked us up at 6.30 and led us to a wonderful art gallery which was opened up especially for us. We were then led just across the street where we were treated to a Mediterranean style restaurant run by an Asian fellow. Here we were introduced to a young man named Cory Ruth who was raising funds for his campaign to run for US Congress. Not quite sure what his policies were but he seemed a pleasant enough chap!

Onwards to a local bar saw the team slam a few more Tequila’s (as the freight trains thundered by horns honking) before receiving the news that they had to be on the road wheels turning by 6am the following morning. Deep joy!

Photo’s to follow

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