I’m writing this from my house now.  After a little over thirty hours travel time, from Sylhet to Dhaka, Dhaka to Dubai, Dubai to Athens, and then Athens to Newark, with layovers, security checkpoints and immigration lines in between each stop, then the drive from Newark to Philly, it’s a haul (but others traveled even further). Little by little the team shrank, as each member went their own way. We had 29 people on the team from six different countries. In the grand scheme of things, it’s amazing that we all came together from our different parts of the world, to go to a place most of us had never been before, to help total strangers. Within two weeks, I now have friends and memories I will carry with me the rest of my life, and that’s a special thing that I don’t take lightly. I got the chance to witness miracles firsthand, to learn about another country and culture to be honest I barely knew existed, and to be a part of something greater than myself. The people of Sylhet, Bangladesh welcomed us with open arms, took us in as family, and in some cases treated us like stars. It’s a country full of smiles and friendly faces, and people who were always trying to give us gifts, without even realizing that they were the gift. It’s a place like nowhere I’ve ever been on this earth, and I miss it and the people already. I want to thank them all from the bottom of my heart.

This was my second mission and my first time doing this job and I appreciate all the help that I was given, especially from Sue Lowe at Rotaplast headquarters, for dealing with the internet issues (about as fast as dial up) and electrical power outages (sometimes several time a day) that made writing this blog on time a bit of a challenge. I feel honored to have been a part of this team and I look forward to any future missions I can be a part of.

I want to thank my team members for showing me things I’ve never seen before and giving me a chance to learn. They are an amazing group of people, who are willing to pitch in and donate their talents and work for the greater good.  They now have a friend for life, and I can’t wait until the next time we meet. They really are the living definition of the Rotarian motto “Service Above Self”.

This program is an amazing thing. I look at some of the veterans who have been here from the beginning like the founder Dr, Capozzi (over eighty missions, that’s right eighty) or Paula Fillari (almost fifty missions) and I can only stand in awe of what they’ve accomplished over the years. There are so many others that make missions like this possible, and if anyone reading this would like to be a part of making missions happen either by donating or volunteering, please contact Rotaplast, as I have found out through my own personal experience, your reward will be greater than anything you can give.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. I hope it was at least a little entertaining and informative, and hope to maybe run into any of you on a mission sometime – until then, take care and thanks.