December 2020 was quite the busy month for Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC) as we completed our School Vision Screen Project (SVSP) for the 2020-21 school year and are nearly complete for the school year with the Children's Water Safety & Drowning Prevention Program (CWS&DPP). We've collected and delivered all the clothing and school supplies from the Winter Clothing and School Supply Appeal; not a moment too early as frost descends on the mountainous areas in the north of Thailand. (The children in Chiang Mai yet to complete the CWS&DPP will appreciate the heated pool).
It's good that most of our 2020-2021 Rotary Year projects are nearly complete, because as I mentioned in last month's bulletin, Thailand's Covid-19 second wave has arrived. Those Thai "hospitality workers" who illegally returned home from Burma weren't the only sources of infection in December. Covid-19 arrived at a large wholesale shrimp market near Bangkok, conveniently blamed on illegal Burmese workers. And then it spread through illegal gambling operations near Bangkok and traveled around many parts of the country from there. Fortunately, Thailand does a good job of contact tracing, although some of the gamblers don't want to share contact details. So far, Chiang Mai has been spared with one or two well-controlled exceptions.
I'm not only the CMIRC bulletin editor, but also the treasurer and I watched developments in horror, realizing the club's 2020-2021 fundraising efforts were represented by a roller coaster car crashing downhill out-of-control. My spreadsheets showed us running out of cash around April, so the officers and project champions huddled and agreed on some cutbacks and personal contributions, if needed.
Lo and behold, Christmas arrived in the form of some generous donors, who somehow sensed our ability to do good was going to be compromised in the near future. And, John Schorr received a call from a delightful Australian telling him that the fates had somehow changed and a grant we thought we weren't going receive was suddenly ours for the the CWS&DPP program.
So, while Thailand is still in that downward-plummeting roller coaster car with Covid-19, CMIRC has reason to celebrate January with fireworks because of the angels who came to our financial rescue. Let's hope we all can stay healthy and welcome the overseas members who are starting to return and that more will be able to join them soon.