On the Front Lines Administering Polio Vaccinations

 
Most of us donate money to the Polio Fund.  Our own Trevor Rodrigues has donated himself.  Trevor joined a Rotary mission to Nigeria and Senegal to assist with vaccinations.  Trevor had witnessed the sufferings of polio victims first hand when he had lived in India.  Trevor described a typical day in the life of a Rotary volunteer.
 
The trip to Nigeria in 2009 started off ominously with a kidnapping threat.  Half of the group of 30 volunteers bowed out; Trevor decided to go.  The day starts early at 6:00 a.m. to be on the road by 7:00 a.m.  The traffic is gridlock.  Luckily the group has a police escort to wedge through the traffic.  It is hot and humid, but long sleeves are necessary to prevent mosquito bites.  The locals efficiently run the vaccination program; volunteers just assist.  The line stretches for about half-mile.  The vaccinations are administered from 7:30 a.m. to night.  During a break, Trevor was able to visit a resourceful local group that uses available materials to make polio rehabilitation contraptions.  For example, with ropes, pulleys, and rocks, they make a very effective physical therapy station.  With bike parts, they give mobility to a grateful polio victim.
 
The smiles of gratitude are an experience you can't forget.  You meet new friends who share their stories of other places of the world.  You hear of past good intentions and projects that fall by the wayside because the locals do not know how to maintain.  For example, a broken water pump that reverts the villagers to walk miles for their water could just need a replacement screw.  You hear of women who walk 10-15 miles to get water daily, and are often raped along the way.  Makes you appreciate what we have, and the importance to keep giving.