Curious Rainy-Day Challenge

Scythians and Centurions, and Bicycles and Polio Vaccinations.

The two brothers still remember the rainy Sundays when their father would take them to the British Museum. Climbing up the steps to the entrance, past the impressive columns, they’d be bursting with anticipation to learn their father’s latest challenge.

“Today’s competition,” he’d proudly announce. “Find as many different horses, as you can.”  

Their father had observed other children quickly grow bored walking around the numerous galleries and exhibits. The two brothers, however, would eagerly scamper between the cavernous rooms; as they scoured reliefs and paintings or stumbled upon incredible statues in their search for the prized horses.  Devouring the Minoans and Mycenaeans; Etruscans and Greeks; Sudanese, Egyptian and Nubian; revelling in each successful discovery. 

They would stop only occasionally, to peer over their father’s shoulder, as he, with sketch book in hand, quickly drew their most interesting finds. 

Of course, it wasn’t always horses. The most extraordinary challenge, at least for the two boys, was ‘warrior women’! This demanded a more tenacious search. 

Scythians and Centurions                                                                                 

Their first find was The Amazon Frieze from Ancient Greece, c. 350 BC depicting combat between Greeks and Amazons. 

Deeper into the British Museum collection, they found an Attic red-figure plate, c.500 – 520 BC; depicting a female Scythian archer with bow-and-arrow quiver. 

The boys learnt that DNA-testing of skeletons excavated from Scythian sites between the Don and the Danube rivers had proven to be fight-scarred women buried with their arrows, battle-axes, spears, and horses. 

Scepticism turned to wonder, when they read that, as a result of bone evidence, it is thought that mounted women warriors from ancient Scythia may have fought alongside Centurions, as part of the Roman army stationed in Cumbria near Hadrian’s Wall.  

Bicycles and Polio Vaccinations

Maybe it was all the hours spent at the British Museum that opened their eyes to a world beyond their local community. 

It wasn’t until they reunited in their mid-forties that they realised they shared a common life purpose. They knew they wanted to do something to help people less fortunate than themselves. 

They also understood that it would take more than the two brothers to create the lasting changes they had in mind.  And, certainly, more funding than they could generate themselves.  It’s why they joined Rotary. 

Rotarians contribute their time; serve as volunteers; raise awareness of good causes in their communities; and even advocate for government support.

But it’s the sheer breadth of Rotary ambition that appealed to them.

Rotarians provide backpacks filled with supplies for primary school children in Honduras; malaria diagnostic tests to prevent, diagnose and treat malaria in Mali; and biosand filters and water-hygiene training for families in Peru.

Rotarians serve as volunteers in the cause of polio eradication; provide HIV antiretroviral drugs to prevent the transmission of HIV from infected mothers to their babies in Liberia; and provide bicycles to play sports for youths with disabilities in France.

Rotarians knit warm woollen clothes for internally displaced people in Syria; provide food packages for International students in Australia; and support Melbourne school students with job interview preparation. 

And that’s a tiny selection!

The brothers still reflect on their museum challenges. And, just like the discovery that Scythia women may have fought alongside Roman Centurions, Rotary never ceases to surprise them. 

Images courtesy of the British Museum

Want to create your own lasting change?  Or simply want to learn more about Rotary? Please contact Megan: Tel: 0418 578 114

Megan’s our Beaumaris Rotary Membership Director. The title sounds a little formal but trust us, she’s the friendliest person you’ll ever meet!