Rotarians wheel into Manila

Ten Campbell River Daybreak Rotarians and friends headed out to the Philippines last Thursday to deliver 280 wheelchairs

Rotarians from Campbell River are travelling around Manilla in real style. Club members are there to deliver much-needed wheelchairs.

Ten Campbell River Daybreak Rotarians and friends headed out to the Philippines last Thursday to deliver 280 wheelchairs with the help of local Rotary clubs in and around Manila.

This is the fourth delivery now of 280 wheelchairs and funds were mainly raised through Dancing and Tapas events; the next happening on April 14.

The retail value of these donations is $225,000 per container, with $900,000 worth of wheelchairs delivered so far, and we are ready to go to Columbia next year with the next container already paid for.

This year we are working on the sixth container for South Africa.

This is a chance for the public to follow the team in the Philippines.

The group started a blog at www.philippinehopeonwheels.blogspot.com to keep everyone up to date.

It’s a very intense delivery schedule which started Sunday, and here’s the day’s blog:

Sunday was a busy day.

Some of us went for an early walk, others went to mass at the National Shrine which was to be the site of the afternoon wheelchair donation.

The day was definitely warmer than our arrival on Saturday.

We were picked up from our hotel and arrived at an excited, but well-organized distribution ceremony. T

he recipients and their families were in the front rows affording them the best views of the dignitaries who were on the stage.

After the singing of our respective national anthems, introductions were made.

The presidents of the eight Paranaque Rotary clubs responsible for the distribution exchanged greetings and welcomed the Canadian contingent.

We were honoured to have the mayor officially welcome us.

He commented on the value of the gift of wheelchairs, recognized the friendship between our two countries and commended Rotary for their commitment to humanitarian works and international service.

District Governor Villareal acknowledged the Rotary ideals of, “Service Above Self” while thanking Rotarians and their supporters for the generosity evidenced by the gift of mobility and dignity the wheelchairs represented.

Hansi Zihlmann spoke of the evolution of his vision of giving the gift of mobility.

He recognized how the support of his family, friends and colleagues inspires him to continue to work toward his goals.

Once the official duties were completed the Rotarians eagerly moved on to getting the recipients into their individually sized new wheelchairs.

To say it was emotional would be an understatement.

Each Rotarian took away personal connections and memories that are etched into our souls.

Tears, hugs, smiles, songs, joy.

Moments like these show humanity at its best.

Recipients, their families and Rotarians retired to the courtyard for a tasty meal while plenty of photographs were taken.

When the group was satisfied that it had successfully completed the distribution of the first group of wheelchairs, the Rotarians  were invited to enjoy some traditional Italian hospitality by a fellow Rotarian.

The group took a brief rest then joined Philippine co-ordinator Ador and some of his team for a seafood banquet near the downtown Manila waterfront.

The next post will be pictures of the donation ceremony.