VTT Signing out:
The VTT signed out with pomp and glory!
Luck is on our side; all items on the wish list have been accommodated apart from the CPAP Machine (it helps by delivering a higher pressure when needed for breathing – you often see masked patients) for kids below 5yrs. Its cost seems well above our entire budget, sadly! So we are waiting on delivery for just a couple of items and we are good to go! Our flight is late tonight! The team is excited about many items – there’s a wonder drug called Milinrone that supports the heart during and post-operation.
The Purchase Manager, Annu Philip (on instructions from MMM Admin Director, George Cherian) has been a star. She’s taught me how to tackle suppliers, negotiate reduction in costs and ensuring speedy deliveries!
I am going to miss the food in India! Incredibly for me, I only had one tummy upset! Our host tells me that most Indian food out of India might be adulterated. I agree; anyone can cook Indian! I’ve had two private lunches – one at an office and another hosted by a fantastic 78yrs old statesman (he would be appalled if I were to name him)! Rotary fellowship is that rich – I could have had more lunches or dinner! The food blows you away. Interestingly, things are different away from commercial areas. For example, my soup was served after lunch. It smoothens the tummy. If spices have been strong, buttermilk taken after the meal will sort you out!
We’ve had two drivers ferrying us in comfy, air-conditioned cars for the entire VTT time. Of course this clouds judgment because all of us know Chennai from AC environs! But that’s Rotary fellowship! Kuruba and Raghu plus Palina who has doubled up as ladies’ Sari dresser, Indian makeup artist, Chennai beach guide, the 78yrs Old Man’s chef… – we thank you for looking after us!
On the 28th June we attended RC Meenambakkam’s fellowship. It wasn’t a regular fellowship but a celebration of the VTT! All of us were wrapped in an Indian shawl after our speeches – all the VTT spoke! The wrapping is a welcome gesture in Indian culture meaning that you’re now family following your good works. It was an evening of great fun also attended by Rotarian doctors from other clubs who are friends of MMM and worked together with RCM to facilitate the VTT. The food was brilliant of course! This time round I focused on the sweets. I’ve brought some back home – so if I see you soon we’ll share!
District Governor Natarajan Nagoji (D3230) attended fellowship particularly to see off the VTT. He was pleased that the VTT eventually happened after such a long time of preps! In some ways this was a significant event. We are the first VTT in India. District 3230 is disappearing today 30 June 2017 and the event was on the last fellowship day of RCM!
Dr Rajan, the director of MMM cardiology, attended fellowship and dinner together with a team of doctors. He has been with MMM since inception 30yrs ago and seen it grow. The hospital has held camps in Tanzania and Kenya in addition to training all of the cardiac surgeons at Kenyatta Hospital, Kenya. Uganda is next! When I ask him about the abundance of human resources at MMM, he says they were like UHI at some point with staff performing in many areas of specialisation. If there is a push, UHI can also grow her own future staff!
Our local host on behalf of RCM, Rtn Dr Dakshayani made a contribution of $5000 to The Rotary Foundation (TRF) – what an evening! It was quite significant because District 3230 is on the brink of raising $1M as its contribution to TRF. Following Rtn Dakshayani’s contribution, they need $45K – can they make it in 48hrs? DRFC Rtn Sagar is confident that they can. Fingers crossed.
As I post this, we’re at Anora Resort owned by Rtn Naresh of RCM. Arrived late after the lovely fellowship! Spent the night and we’ll head to Chennai airport from here! What an offer!
I’m off to the beach!