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President’s Message – Nora Ley

When we have the Team Presentation from the La Trobe University Orthoptics students who have been with the Philippines Eye and Ear Screening project, it is guaranteed to be a highlight meeting. This week was no exception and it was shared with previous ear and eye screening team participants, Therese McKinney, our East-side Assistant Governor, members of the Rotary Club of Boorondara, members, partners and friends of our Club.

Jasmine Peldys
Jasmine Peldys

Jasmine Peldys and Breanna Ban, two of the Orthoptic students from LaTrobe University shared their experiences of the trip. The beauty of the country is apparent. The appreciation of the Philippine community members is heart warming and the distances that these people are prepared to travel for the opportunity for any type of medical care is amazing. The poverty and malnutrition is very evident and the poor living standards of many is most apparent.

Despite the usual humidity and heat of the tropics, long days, varying standards of accommodation and forms of transportation and the strangeness of the armed security and challenges of providing services in the open, sports stadiums, hospitals and halls and an add on this year of both a typhoon and an earthquake, the team completed the screening of 1,600 people’s eyes and 4,682 children’s ears.

Of those screened, 130 had cataracts removed, 80 had pterygiums removed (a fleshy growth on the white of the eye that may encroach onto the pupil) and other eye conditions were identified, with 370 reading and 150 sun glasses distributed.

The children often have reduced hearing processes due to impacted wax. Others have middle ear infections that require antibiotic administration and there are often surprises with varying foreign bodies present, from beads, organic matter and in some cases insects.

Breanna Ban
Breanna Ban

Jasmine and Breanna gratefully acknowledged the opportunity that they were given in going to the Philippines as part of Eye and Ear Medical Team and thanked all Club members for their sponsorship. We all wish Jasmine and Breanna best wishes for the future, for their personal life and their chosen career.

The 2015 mission appears to again have exceeded the goals of the project and is certainly a very worthwhile and rewarding undertaking. I would like to acknowledge and thank each and everyone one of the participants for their contribution over the last 19 years.

Of course the Medical Mission Team always acknowledges the support and participation of the local Philippine Rotary Club members. They not only act as interpreters for the screening processes but in the down times they host the various activities and catering. One important component is Karaoke participation. The students always make an important face saving contribution on those Karaoke nights. Whilst Karaoke may be a lot of fun for the musical Filipinos, it is a daunting experience for our Aussie team members and I am sure we only see the smallest video snippet of the events!

Our President-Elect, Doug Hawley told us about the outcomes of his preparatory trip to the Philippines for the 2016 program, which he recently undertook with President Nominee, Rob Simpson to the Province of Mindoro. A completely new area for screening that no doubt will hold more challenges but will have the same fantastic rewards and outcomes for the Filipino community members, as well as our Club members and volunteers. We wish you all happy planning for this, the 20th mission.

Two New Members

sueAnnetteIanPeterMembers warmly welcomed two new members to our Club recently. Sue Osborne (Teacher Training) had her Rotary badge presented by her Club mentor, Annette Brownscombe. Ian Mellett (Automotive Retail) rejoined our Club and had his Rotary badge re-presented by Acting President, Peter May. It was wonderful to have Sue’s daughter, Ruth, and Ian’s wife, Chris, join us for this very special occasion. We are delighted to have Sue and Ian as part of our Rotary family and look forward to your volunteering contributions.

      Rotary Promo