Who knew that there were so many Rotary Clubs in the area? Chiang Mai North and Thin Thai Nam yes, but the Rotary Club of Chiang Mai Doi Suthep? The Rotary Club of Chiang Mai Airport? It appears that Rotarians thrive in tropical climates.
This past Tuesday, those clubs and more packed the back of JJ Market for Chiang Mai’s first Rotary Day. The set-up for the day-long event was frenzied for the first hour (CMIRC secretary Jerry Nelson arrived sans belt!), but by 9 a.m. things had settled into place, with the iced coffee booth open and the band playing golden oldies such as “Take Me Home, Country Road” and “I Don’t Wanna Talk About It.” And once Roger Lindley and John Schorr had solved an electrical problem and powered up the projector for the Children’s Water Safety Program video, things were looking good.
Children's Water Safety program champion John Schorr with swimming instructors Kru Payu (in blue) and Kru Garn (in plaid).
The morning festivities opened with a bang when Thai Rotary Club members commandeered the stage a little after 9, sang a medley of Rotary songs, and popped confetti tubes over the cheering crowd gathered for the District Governor’s opening speech. Those remarks were followed by the official induction of Jean Brookens, Ken Brookens, and Josh Limalima into the CMIRC - and, of course, by group photos (also, due to Maliwan’s heroics, Jerry now had his belt!).
Chiang Mai Rotarians singing and "popping off" to launch Rotary Day 2016.
Chiang Mai District Governor Surasak Prugsiganont (in pink) welcomed Ken Brookens, Jean Brookens and Jowell (Josh) Limalima into the Rotary family Tuesday morning.
Following the photo shoot, CMIRC members helping with the Children’s Sight Program waited for an influx of school kids that never really materialized. We managed to shanghai a few boys in the morning, and Thin Thai Nam’s Hope Watcharaprecha lured some girls over to the makeshift clinic in the afternoon, but by the end of the day Peter Bell, Nancy Lindley, Des Russell, and Mike Lake had examined only about a dozen kids. The English Chat portion of the CMIRC program also had little to do, as Patty Schulze and Ken and Jean Brookens waited in vain to show off their impeccable English language skills.
New CMIRC member Jean Brookens chats with president-elect Shana Kongmun, Patty Schulze, and club secretary Jerry Nelson during a break in the action.
As CMIRC’s man-about-town Bob Carroll can attest, mingling with other Rotarians and seeing how they presented their clubs was one of the high points of the day. For example, the Sarapee Rotary crew concocted a big bin of blue liquid glass cleaner that it gave to visitors in small bottles, while the Doi Suthep club offered hair-styling demonstrations, corn-on-the-cob, and finger sandwiches. Next door, the Chiang Mai Airport Rotary folks provided a sketch artist, a calligrapher, and herbal tea. Other clubs had presentations on organic farming, sewing, applying make-up, and what appeared to be a geography contest. Food seemed to be the common thread connecting the various club activities, and CMIRC’s Marvin Chung’s sweet pastries were a hit with the kids (and with president-elect Shana Kongmun). The other common thread was finding relief from the blazing sun...
A small but tasty buffet of Thai food appeared near the Sight Program station at lunchtime, and members ate and socialized in the shady areas as the afternoon heat grew hotter and the day’s activities began to wind down. By 2 p.m. most clubs had cleaned up and cleared out. When Roger, Nancy, and Jerry finally piled into a tuk-tuk for their ride home, the CMIRC had successfully completed its first Rotary Day.
Saying goodbye to JJ Market and Rotary Day until next year are (from the left) Jerry Nelson, Nancy Lindley, and Roger Lindley.