I have been home for 3 days now, decompressing and reflecting on what we have accomplished. It seems like so long ago that the idea of organizing a polio immunization trip to Nigeria was first conceived. Actually, it was a long time ago – we had just come back from our India NID trip (http://nid2012india.wordpress.com/) and someone said “where are you going next year?”
So I began the process of establishing relationships among Rotarians in Nigeria to bring this idea to reality. In this process I worked with some wonderful Nigerian Rotarians to put together a program focused on the second round National Polio Immunization Days in the southeastern part of Nigeria corresponding to Rotary District 9140. In addition to the END POLIO NOW activities we were to be visiting Rotary projects in District 9140.
Once the word got out through our District 6440 website, the PolioPlus office at Rotary International, ROTA (Reach Out To Africa), and social media (primarily LinkedIn), interest in joining our team began to grow. Our final team consisted of 11 Rotarians and guests from the USA and Sweden. What a great group! We shared a life-changing experience together in more ways than one. What we did changed the lives of the Nigerian children and mothers who saw foreigners coming to their country to place two drops of life-saving vaccine in the mouths of children. What we did changed the lives of local Rotarians striving to make their communities better and now know that they have the support and understanding of Rotarians from outside of Nigeria. And what we did changed our lives forever. What we saw and what we did are indelibly etched in our minds, hearts and souls. I believe that we are all better Rotarians and better human beings for this experience. And those benefits are priceless!
And, to be sure, Nigeria is THIS CLOSE to eradicating polio – and we are proud to be part of that.
I have expressed my thanks privately to the dedicated Rotarians in Nigeria without whom we could never have accomplished this. I want to publicly thank the members of our Nigeria2013NID team for their friendship, commitment, support, and understanding when things did not going exactly according to plan and intentions (you had to be there to understand!).
Rotary District 6440
Rotary District 6440 – Illinois USA
Richard Rivkin – Rotary Club of Northbrook
Helen Rivkin – Rotary Club of Northbrook – guest
Larry Kanar – Rotary Club of Northbrook
Donna Gulley – Rotary Club of Northbrook
Stephen Legge – Rotary Club of Buffalo Grove
Wendy Davis – Rotary Club of Arlington Heights
Carol Wells – Rotary Club of Wilmette Harbor
Rotary District 6950 – Florida USA
Carl Treleaven – Rotary Club of St. Petersburg
Lina Treleaven – Rotary Club of St. Petersburg – guest
Rotary District 2390 – Sweden
Sonja Andersson – Rotary Club of Kävlinge
Staffan Andersson – Rotary Club of Falsterbo-Skytts
Special Thanks To Rotary District 9140 – Nigeria
District Governor Onyebuchi Onuoha
Rotarian Iheanyi Okpala
Rotarian Rose Ugorji