33 hours! That’s right, 33 hours of travel time to get the team from San Francisco to  Narnaul India. The team of 16 brought with them 32 boxes carrying over 500 lbs of medical equipment including surgical tools, printers and papers, gowns, masks, quilts, a sterilizing machine, sterile gauzes, bandages and much more.  Basically, we moved a mini-hospital from North America to a very remote area of India, all with the help of Emirates Airline.

Rotaplast’s Chief Executive Officer, Donna-Lee Rubin submitted a grant proposal to the Emirates Foundation requesting financial assistance for the mission.  The Emirates Foundation approved the grant proposal and supplied the team with free flights to New Delhi India.

Mission Director Ted Alex getting the thumbs up from an Emirates employee.

The staff of Emirates Airlines went above and beyond to ensure all of our equipment made it to India on time.

Medical Records volunteer Reynel Nombrado showing his excitement that all the boxes have been accounted for.

From the travelling packages to the delicious meals served, we were truly treated like family.

Traveling to another part of the world is exhausting, and even more so when travelling to a developing country like India.  It tests your patience and resilience.  We learn to embrace the cultural differences with compassion and intrigue.  And we are blessed that the local Rotary Club of Narnaul City and the Rotary Club of Delhi Restoring Smiles were on site to be our translators, transporters, friends, cooks and our support team. We really couldn’t do missions like these without them.

Above is Project Chair Rtn. Gaurav Ahuja from the Rotary Club of Delhi Restoring Smiles

The Rotary Club of Narnaul City was created in 1988 and re-chartered 2008.  The club is a very busy club with over 65 members, running many projects around the city that aid those less fortunate than themselves.  Some of their projects include:

  • Clean water projects: 8 clean water stations  were installed in Narnaul and adjoining villages.  One is located right outside of local bus stand near the Vijay Hospital.
  • Sanitation: Rotary India started a new program called WIns (Wash in Schools) which mirrored Unicef’s initiative WASH (WAter, Sanitation and Hygiene). Historically, local citizens did not have proper bathroon facilities.  It became more problematic when the population of India grew exponentially.  The local club has also installed and maintain 3 public toilets in Narnaul as part of this initiative.
  • Cremation services: In other parts of the country, cremation is done on the same day of the individuals passing. But in Narnaul, family members would have to carry the body of the deceased on their shoulders several miles to be cremated.  The club worked at bringing a Cremation vehicle to the city of Narnaul.
  • Adoption of a school: The club adopted a local school in need of funds.   The costs of running the school soon became a burden and the school was no longer sustainable.  The club gave the school a face lift, created a computer lab, introduced WInS, provided separate toilets for girls and boys, installed a clean water drinking station, and provided CCTV.  The number of students increased from 65 to 250 due to these improvements.
  • Health Check-ups: India has the highest rate of type 2 diabetes in the world. The club provided 600 free check-up camps in many nearby villages for citizens over 40 years of age. 15,000 patients were screened for high blood pressure and diabetes.
  • Community Kitchen – the club subsidizes 400-500 meals per day to those who can’t afford a healthy meal. They only pay 10 Rupees (15 cents) per meal.

“Atithi Devo Bhava” (“The Guest is God”) is a social awareness campaign that aims at providing an inbound tourist of India a  greater sense of being welcomed to the country.  Mission accomplished!