As this past calendar year comes to an end, I would like to thank you, our members, donors, project partners, and friends for your service and support. We could not have achieved so much without your individual contribution. My family and I sincerely wish you a wonderful and rewarding year ahead!
December was another busy month for the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club. At the beginning of the month we wrapped up the collection phase of the annual Children's Winter Clothing Appeal. Ever since, our club has been busy delivering those warm clothes, jackets, blankets, shoes, and toys to vulnerable hill tribe, local Thai, migrant, and refugee populations in Northern Thailand. The success of this project exceeded our wildest imagination. So far, we have distributed donations to twelve remote, hard-to-access locations in six Northern provinces. We have two more deliveries left. A big thanks to our generous donors and the businesses and schools that hosted our donation boxes!
Rotarians Bill and Nicha Trempus continued their work with the Human Rights and Development Foundation and the Chiang Mai Trust to assist our club’s food initiative in distributing an additional 200 survival food packages to the San Kamphaeng, Saraphi, and Mae Taeng Districts.
Secretary Nick Dale reported that more Teddy Trekkers completed their mission and are now at home in the arms of their new young owners. All of these new owners are undergoing serious medical treatment in Mae Sot (hence the need for this project). While Nick’s story provides greater detail, I would like to recognize that Nick continues to praise the contributions that Burma Children Medical Fund B.K. Kee Patient House residents (all of whom are undergoing serious medical treatment as well) put into this particular project. They design and paint the individual bags the bears travel in.
Rotarian Craig Clark and his late wife, Ann Gfeller Clark, who fund our agricultural projects, enabled club members Niwatchai Suknaphasawat, Charter President Roger Lindley, Past President John Schorr, Bill & Nicha Trempus, and Myrna Muyana to pay a visit to our club’s avocado project sites. All three of these sites are located in remote Lahu villages in the Mae Hong Son Province. Project Champion Niwatchai, who is of Lahu descent, led the trip. Of course, we did not go empty-handed. We brought Christmas presents for the villagers and I helped deliver 1,238 pounds of clothing that we collected last month from our donation boxes at Rimping and Makro Supermarkets.
The Burma Children Medical Fund B.K. Kee Patient House held its big annual Christmas party. Project Champion Bill Pierce and Nick Dale helped organize the event, complete with presents donated by club members and supporters. As a way of saying thanks, the B.K. Kee Patient House residents sent the club a video of patients singing Christmas songs in both English and their native language.
At present, the COVID-19 vaccination rate in Thailand is over 65.1%. The vaccination rate in Thailand is now well above the world average at 48.3% and higher than the United States average of 61.8%. Most of our club members are fully vaccinated. Now, some are even getting their third shot. My wife, President-Elect Viki and I plan to get our third shot (a.k.a. booster) after the mandatory six months pass (we both received two doses of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine).
In closing, I am happy to announce that we are officially resuming our in-person club meetings at the Royal Peninsula Hotel starting on January 4, 2022. Water and hand sanitizer will be provided. Please wear a mask when not consuming water. While all future guests and members are required to be vaccinated before attending meetings, this rule does not apply to current CMIRC members. In the interest of health and safety, we are establishing a safe zone for any currently unvaccinated members. The established safe zone will be the couch by the entrance door and it will be cordoned off by blue tape on the ground. While fellowship is an important part of all Rotary meetings, we kindly ask that vaccinated members not enter the cordoned-off safe zone and vice versa. This is important because most of our members are still in the at-risk group regardless of their vaccination status and it's possible for vaccinated people to be asymptomatic and transmit the virus. Please send a copy of your most up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination record to firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a required action prior to your attendance. If your certificate contains information that you would like to keep private, there are various apps that allow you to blur specific content in a document.