Eager for the polio vaccine in Ethiopia

A mother seeks the polio vaccine for her child during immunization activities in southern Ethiopia. Photo courtesy of John Adams

A mother seeks the polio vaccine for her child during immunization activities in southern Ethiopia. Photo courtesy of John Adams

By John Adams, a member of the Rotary Club of Somerset-Pulaski County, Kentucky, USA

At first, I thought the pull on my volunteer’s vest was one of the 50 or so village children who were following us, touching me to see if I was indeed real, because I was so different from them. But this was more than a child’s curious touch; it was a pull that caused me to lose my balance.

I turned in the direction of the pull to find it was not a playful child; but a determined mother, holding an infant. I will never forget her expression. I had no idea what she said in her dialect of Amharic or the local tribal language, but I knew exactly what she wanted. Continue reading

Seeking a world record for longest clothesline

The shirts strung out on cable between pontoon boats.

The shirts strung out on cable between pontoon boats.

By Elsa Venter, past president of the Rotary Club of Vanderbijlpark, South Africa

More than 6,700 shirts fluttered in the breeze on the Vaal River, suspended from three-miles of cable that zigzagged back and forth between floating pontoons. It was an amazing sight, and one we hoped would earn a world record for longest clothesline stretched across a river. Continue reading

Traveling to Nigeria to fight polio

Ann Lee Hussey immunizing a child against polio in Chad.

Ann Lee Hussey immunizing a child against polio in Chad.

By Ann Lee Hussey, polio survivor and member of the Rotary Club of Portland Sunrise, Maine, USA.

As a 17-month-old toddler, I contracted polio. Burning up with fever, I was paralyzed from the waist down. It was July 1955, only three months after Jonas Salk’s vaccine was released to the public. I was lucky to regain the use of most but not all of my leg muscles. Today, after multiple surgeries, braces, and physical therapy, I am able to walk with limitations. Continue reading