Posted by Editor: FDBobko
February 21,  2019
Eradicate Polio Day January 5th 2019  
January 1 - 12 in New Delhi, Agra & Jaipur
Article by  Joe Brennan
Photos by EJ Dieterle 
Rotary Club of Half Moon Bay Club members and Past Presidents Mitone Griffiths and Liz Schuck recently returned from an End Polio Mission in India and reported back:
Why India?
To advance the cause of Polio Eradication
To Participate in a world wide project
and to meet Rotarians of a like mind
They told how plans can go awry; a Pacifica Rotarian recently went to India for a two day Mega Vaccination Day but there was an outbreak in Pakistan so all the available vaccine was diverted there to deal with the problem area. So they know that it may be an adventure, a healthy attitude when traveling at any time far from home.
The highlights of their trip were that there were 82 Rotarians from Belgium, Australia, Norway, 
the U.K., and the USA. 27 of them were from district 5150, some of whom had been participating in an H2Open Door project associated with one of the schools they visited providing clean water for the students and for sale to support the installation and its community.
They illustrated their talk with videos of their adventures. They toured a lot of sights in and around Delhi. They were amazed by the people, were adventurous with the wonderful food...and they shopped!
They stayed in New Delhi and took a bus to Agra for Vaccination Day. They witnessed the massive pomp and circumstance put on to highlight the event and make it a success. There were hundreds of yellow balloons marking their parade route complete with the drummer to catch attention in competition with the constant blaring horns, traffic and crowd noise. Posters and banners proclaimed "Keep India Polio Free!" to get the word out and they were interviewed in the local paper and decorated with garlands of Marigolds. The marigold in Hindi is called "Hundred Petal Flower" and it is believed that when given for "good luck", "get well" or whatever that the sentiment is multiplied 100 fold for each bloom.
They met at a local Hospital and were assigned to one of 20 vans as a team made up of four Rotarians, a local Nurse, a guide/translator (Rotoactor or volunteer) and a driver and went to their designated location. It turned out to be on the sidewalk in front of a store on a medium sized road which was very noisy due to all the motorized bike going and for some strange reason, the children were given shrill plastic whistles adding to the cacophony. 
There are no cased of live polio virus in India so the campaign now is Maintenance; inoculating only those five and under only.
Their vaccination site was in the territory of their public health nurse and she knew practically everyone by sight. She was prescribing and treating the kids and moms for other health issues in addition to the vaccinations such as multivitamins to the mothers who were pregnant, etc. They were mobbed by kids, not all in the target group which was ages 1 to 5 years old - Those over five having been immunized already. They had a test for age five which was to ask the child to raise an arm and reach over their head and cover their ear on the opposite side. If they could do that they were over five. The vaccine was in a special cold box with four ice packs for preservation, from which the drops were taken and administered by the Rotarians when the child had been Okayed by the nurse. They vaccinated 200 at their station that day and their whole group of 82 that day did 4,500 total.
They reported the traffic as Chaotic with all the vehicles plus the occasional sacred cow sauntering through. They went for a morning school visit and saw the new toilet block for girls and the new water spout for drinking but found no children there as it was too cold (in the 60's!) so school was closed. Some older students came to welcome, meet and tour the Rotarians. It was a government school and very basic and dismal having very low funding.
They were made aware of the situation that when girls pass puberty they stop attending schools because they had no toilets or accommodation for menstruating girls. The new toilet block should help reverse this plus a great project afoot to provide reusable sanitary napkins. Girls were missing six days a month before the reusable pad project and now attendance is up by 380!
They also had an afternoon school visit to the Agra Taj Mahal Rotary Initiative project school in contrast to the morning's stop it was a great improvement. It is also the site of the H2Open Doors project who installed a solar water purification plant supplying the school plus enough to sell locally. They had donations of bicycle rickshaws to deliver the water to assure the success of the project and economic betterment of the community.
 Mitone experienced the reward thereof really putting the focus on the problem and solving it with the "Days of Girls". Through Mitone and Liz our Club donated a "Magic Wardrobe" supply cabinet for students at the school.
Liz pitches the assembled citing the impact and value of participating in a Rotary Service Trip. She told about her first such trip to Mexico to distribute wheelchairs which had a profound impact on her life. This Polio service trip was another example of "Serving Others to Bring Peace" which she recommends every Rotarian participate in, and learn and benefit from the service and fellowship. Their trip cost approximately $3,000 per person for 12 days.
Photos by EJ Dieterle 
Our Monthly Rotary Day at the Community Free Breakfast (held at the Lutheran Church will be Wednesday, FEBRUARY 27.  Please sign up with ROSE SERDY for a shift for future days (last Wednesday of each month.)