One of the greatest rewards of being a Rotarian and volunteering with Rotaplast is the opportunity to meet, work with, and create fellowship with Rotarians from around the world. To say that fellowship makes for understanding, and understanding makes for friendship, is certainly true. To meet fellow Rotarians at a conference is certainly valuable, but nothing beats meeting Rotarians where they live, and sharing the experience of working together for a greater purpose. It adds deeper meaning to “Peace Through Service.”

One of my first observations after getting off the bus is that the Rotarians of the Rotary Club of Karaikal are exuberant, and it showed as they greeted us with music and flowers, with smiles and handshakes. The excitement and warmth of our hosts was a welcome tonic for weary travelers

Arrive Greet Frank
Medical Director Frank Walchak is greeted by Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Karaikal as we entered the Paris International Hotel.

Arrive Two shot Head Nurse Debby Dean, RN and Ian Yuan, MD Anesthesiologist look on as the greeting ceremony takes place .

The importance of ceremony, celebration, and tradition cannot be understated here. After a quick nap and a short tour of the hospital facilities to plan the next day’s activities, the Rotarians and the Vinayaka Medical College and Hospital treated us to the Rotaplast Mission 2012 opening ceremonies. The hospital is a teaching institution and, in honor of our visit, canceled classes for the afternoon of our arrival so that the students could attend and perform in the opening ceremony. Students performed with traditional song, dance, and music.

Ceremony 4

All those whose efforts contributed to the success of the mission were honored. Mr. Terri Paul, Rotarian from the Rotary Club of Karaikal, addresses the audience.


Medical students fill the auditorium for the Rotaplast 2012 Karaikal Mission.

Ceremony 5

Gina Brown, RN, OR Nurse, and Mary Hoffman, Medical Records Assistant, wearing welcome garlands.

Because Vinayaka Medical College and Hospital is a teaching hospital, the team interacted with medical students throughout all phases of the patient treatment plan. As I worked my way through the hospital it seemed as though wherever a Rotaplast medical volunteer was, there was learning happening. Medical students, residents, and staff, participated in educational sessions and surgery. They were invaluable when working with the language barrier that complicates treatment, especially in the patient intake clinics which are typically noisy, hot, and chaotic. Having those friendly, competent local students eased the stress for both patients and the staff. Their assistance was greatly appreciated!


Amie Shaw, DO, and team pediatrician, leads a learning session with medical students from Vinayaka Medical College and Hospital.