In Gear | Rotary in Southern New Zealand In Gear - Issue 3 - Page 29

Kiwi mission members lend a hand during free dental check-ups. the orphanage. The team also helped complete construction of an outdoor kitchen, which will enable children at the home to learn and help prepare food. Nicki and Paul’s daughter, Courteney, joined her parents and siblings on the family’s third Rotary- Impact Youth humanitarian trip to the Philippines – this time as one of the mission’s two registered nurses. Her experiences during her first visit five years ago as a 16-year-old convinced her nursing was the vocation for her, and she qualified just in the time for the latest journey. Far from feeling their work is done, the team sees another potential mission on the horizon in 2019. “It’s definitely an eye-opening experience for all, and life changing for some,” Robert says. “Other youth return with a sense of gratitude for the things they enjoy back home having seen first-hand what hardship others have to endure.” Courteney and Robert’s wife, Meri, who is also a registered nurse, worked alongside local doctors and dentists to deliver the project’s healthcare aid, but there was no time off for the rest of the team, who served as everything from assistants to entertainers. “The rest of us helped with the prep and cleaning of equipment, dispensing meds, shining torches in patients’ mouths ... and we also did face-painting and animal balloon- making for the kids who were waiting,” Robert says. “During the children’s feeding programme, all team members helped serving the food and really enjoyed spending time with the kids.” Nearly a year in the planning, scoping and fundraising, this third visit followed two previous trips to the Philippines in 2012 and 2015, all organised by Robert. Their mission two years ago saw the team deliver medical aid, rebuilding and provide a food programme for undernourished children in the wake of 2013’s devastating Typhoon Haiyan. Local children savour the feeding programme. It’s definitely an eye-opening experience for all, and life changing for some.” Robert Gonzales, Mission organiser Page 29