By Richard Rivkin, assistant governor of District 6440 (Illinois, USA)
I have been home for several days now, decompressing and reflecting on what we have accomplished during our polio immunization team’s trip to Nigeria. It seems like so long ago that the idea of organizing a trip to Nigeria was first conceived.
Actually, it was a long time ago – we had just come back from our India NID trip 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 the district.
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 United States 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.
Reposted with permission from the blog Rotary Polio Immunization Mission to Nigeria 2013. Read daily posts about the trip on their blog.
- Be part of the effort to make the World’s Biggest Commercial
- Learn more about Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio.
- Find ways you can help Rotary advocate for a polio free world in Global Outlook
- Contribute to help End Polio Now