With the calendar year quickly coming to an end, I’d like to invite everyone to consider this month as an opportunity to think about what we can accomplish next year. While we are an organized club that operates with bylaws, committees, and a Board of Directors, it can certainly be said that all projects typically start with the initiative of just one individual member at a time. Will that person be you in 2022?
During this past month, Rotarian Bill and Nicha Trempus continued their work on the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club Food Initiative. They helped us organize and donate 540 tins of canned fish to the Urban Light Foundation on behalf of CMIRC. Nicha also assembled a new batch of 200 survival food packages for people who continue to struggle with unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Human Rights and Development Foundation as well as the Chiang Mai Trust assisted with distributing the packages in the Hang Dong, San Sai, and Doi Saket areas.
Youth Programs Director Raphael Djemal met with student leadership at Payap University to discuss how we as a club can support them in reorganizing their Rotaract Club. John Schorr, Roger Lindley, and Gary Herman attended the meeting as well.
Secretary Nick Dale has reported that even more Teddy Trekkers have successfully completed their mission and reached the arms of their new young owners, all of which are undergoing medical treatment in the Mae Sot area. As always, we are sending a sincere thanks on their behalf to all teddy bear donors!
The Burma Children Medical Fund's B.K. Kee Patient House organized their annual Loy Krathong festivities and held group birthday celebrations. Patients and caregivers continued to participate in basic literacy and health education classes. Rotarians Bill Pierce and Nick Dale continued their work to maintain our club’s commitment to deliver supplies every other week.
On November 16, we welcomed Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Damansara Heights D3300 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia into our regular meeting on ZOOM. It was great to welcome so many Rotarians from their club.
On November 30, we held a virtual social event with fun games and team-building exercises. This also provided non-Rotarians a chance to learn more about the members of CMIRC. Soon-to-be new member Cesar Lopez excelled in film trivia and won two tickets to the courtroom drama, "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial". This theater production is produced by The Gate Theater and features our very own treasured Treasurer, Nancy Lindley. Congratulations, Cesar!
We wrapped up the collection phase of this year's Children's Winter Clothing Appeal on December 1. The success of this project exceeded our wildest imaginations. We received twice the amount of donations as we did last year. A big thanks to our generous donors and the businesses and schools that house our donation boxes! As you may know, my wife, Viki and I are the Project Champions for this initiative. Now that the collection phase is over, I’ll be heading into the mountains to deliver these warm clothes, jackets, blankets, and shoes to the vulnerable hill tribe, migrant, and refugee populations our club aims to serve. Please let me know if you want to tag along.
At present, the COVID-19 vaccination rate here in Thailand is now 58.8 percent, which is well above the world average of 42.7% and almost equivalent to the 59.3% vaccination rate in the United States. Most of our club members are now fully vaccinated. Please keep in mind that in the interest of public safety, our Board of Directors has voted to make the COVID-19 vaccination a requirement for virtually all future service project involvement.
In closing, I need to mention that we received some bad news: our regular in-person meetings at the Royal Peninsula Hotel cannot resume until at least January 1, 2022. Their facility will continue to operate as a hospitel (hotel-turned-hospital) for coronavirus patients. I am looking forward to all of us being able to meet face-to-face as soon as it is logistically possible and safe to do so.