It was a wonderful homecoming in March and there were lots of hugs. There has been a palpable increase in trust and familiarity since last year. This has resulted in a greater receptiveness to initiatives, much less formality and a consequent exposure to more personal views within the organisations with which we work. Acceptance has also resulted in a faster turnaround in paperwork!
Mai Anh (Lily) Tran, Nguyen Giao Chi (very keen. Unlikely to be available next year as applying for business scholarship in US. Good English, Tram (available all the time for Biomed. Very good but shy and not effective at blind school), Thom (only available twice for education group due to timetabling. English good for teaching), Hanh (English teacher. Only 1 day despite alleged availability sporadically entire time. Keen, good English), Huong (available nearly all the time but unlikely to be available next year as applying for business scholarship in France. Keen but English not good enough for negotiation), Hien (and friends, including Tien. Mrs Dung’s neice. Very keen. Came 5-6times. Excellent English. Negotiations would be appropriate), Duc (ex tourist guide. For M&M in Don Bosco and Lang Biang. Adequate English but not for negotiation), Linda Anh Phuong (Teaching student. Worked 1 afternoon. Not good enough English) .
Continuity was achieved with Biomed and the other medical groups. However, the interpreters for the education group were much less consistent and/or their language ability was insufficient for negotiations -some needed to be repeated by Lily because of language difficulties. Ideally need 2 for screening and primary care, 1/teacher +1 for the education group and 3 for the hospital (1 anaesthetics, 1 surgery and nursing and 1 biomed). Costs for interpreters need to be formalised.
Lien An Saigon, Dreams Hotel DaLat
Approval letter for hospital is quick. Need VN and English versions and also customs and police for equipment. No need for anything for School.
Wine and chocs (don’t need as many) worked well. Suggestion that can buy Aus wine in Saigon via “Kangaroo IndoChine” followed up. No response to date
Amelia did hats for theatre – really popular
Milton, Narelle, John, Mich and Amelia bought own laptops. There are issues with Mac/ Windows. VN uses Windows. Consider portable printer.
Resolve OS platform and software issues.
Binh - surgeon in training, a friend of Lily’s. Available 4 - 14 March. Shy, not empathic, not interested in anaesthetics, English adequate.
Not keen to return in 2012 but option always available.
Paedaitric anaesthetics, surgery and nursing
Theatres: Amelia Ham, John Cassey (group co-ordinator) and Michele Poppinghaus
Screening assisted by a nurse and GP (Maureen and Milton)Clinics in DaLat and 3 peripheral hospitals (Đơn Dương, Lạc Dương and Đức Trọng).Procedure handouts (VN language) useful.Need pictures of face and surgical site attached to name of child and a parent, approx DOB/age, address, contact phone number, diagnosis, unique ID (only useful for us). Suggest this be in xls format and portable printer. See comments on IT above Despite assurances that bringing the trip date into the first 3 weeks of March was no problem, its proximity to Tet resulted in less publicity and fewer children to screen - ~50 compared to 150 last year. Tien says it would be better to only go to places if >20kids. We elected therefore to do some more complicated cases as well. Overall, our objectives in screening were met but the 1hr trips through the mountains not worthwhile given the small pickup. Since this was a new initiative, there was a very visible “administrative” presence from DaLat (Tien and 2 senior nurses) and local administrators. We are confident, from our experience in DaLat, that trust and credibility will be established but this may take a while. There was also an ongoing TV coverage of the screening ?cudos/ ?advertising/ ?just news. The local TV station’s wife (and friends) met with M&M. They have a degree of philanthropy (?extent). Re-evaluate outreach clinics. Go to places if >20kids. Attempt to decrease “administrative” presence. Contact local TV station’s wife (and friends) Theatres (Amelia, John, Mich)We ran 2 theatres with 8 complicated and 33 routine cases. We did a final clinic at Lam Dong Hospital to review questionable children and all with more complex issues eg hypospadias. Some surgeons feel they understand the procedures whereas other are less confident. One surgeon is hostile to many aspects. I am unsure why. The anaesthetists were, as always, happy and eager to learn. There will not be a decision by locals on what we do nor any assistance from them in making the decision. 3 bi-lingual teaching videos were made and distributed- orchiopexy (2 approaches) and inguinal herniotomy. Vietnamese as major language (Mich, John, Giao Chi and, to a lesser extent, Lily) Teaching session was on Pyloric stenosis (topic requested by Tien. ?at Son’s request). This was pointless. Mich’s contribution on airway “aids” and the US machine we brought, was well received. Pharmacy to be considered is: lanolin, 5% phenol in almond oil 5ml vials pack of 5, Triamcinalone, ?Doxycycline IV – very difficult because of keeping cool
Use only 1 theatre and focus on those who would benefit from extra assistance.
Be more proactive re teaching session. ?literature presentation for local hospitals ? specific nurse training.
Simplify equipment lists and donations
Anaesthetic machine donation
Begun negotiations for transfer of 6 ULCO anaesthetic machines
Not much interest from local doctors in terms of information interchange
Pharmacy items could be bought in town- hot probs were hookworm, DU/gastritis, H/T, Otitis media and externa, respiratory tract infections. Clients were all billed for a consultation
Dental hygiene poor. Consider “mobile dentist” in 2012 – Mr Bao (Red Cross) contacted
Health checks on other children and adults
Lam Dong Blind associationNarelle Cassey (organiser) and Alison Tattersall. The community has now moved into their new building with 40 people now attending the school. Narelle and Alison had 2 rooms for teaching. As usual, this was a combination of singing, games and repetition. At the schools’ request, Milton and Maureen delivered a session on sexual health. Thereafter, it was impossible to talk about bananas (used to demonstrate the use of condoms) without getting roars of laughter! We were delighted (and a little surprised) by their openness. Many of the group have made significant progress in their spoken English since last year and they still use their personal tape recorders for practice. The community is now well supported by tour groups and we limited financial support to supply of some lockers, more personal recorders and book shelves.
Continue English lessons
Sessions on sexual health to be repeated
Limit financial support
Another of our revisits from 2010, this small community of blind children with behavioural and intellectual disabilities gets very little support. We went on a very entertaining shopping trip with them to buy clothes, food and some toys. We left a guitar donated by Latham’s music. Limited time because of Red Cross commitments
Spend more time in 2012
CamLy minority children’s home
The sister school project we’ve established with Newcastle East public school is a source of great excitement. We will give the “Who I am” introduction stories written by the Cam Ly primary school children to Mr John Beach (principal). There are already plans to send books and other school supplies. In the future some of the Newcastle families may visit. We bought clothes, essential food and groceries and left some basic medicines. We were also able to supply PC’s, TV and a DVD player from the 2010 wish list.
Continue sister school project with Newcastle East public school.
Mr Bao spent 2 days with us looking at 6 other projects. Of these, the only one currently suitable for longer term support from us is the Xuan Tho preschool for children from subsistence farmers - at TaNung, about 17km from DaLat.
Pursue plan for a small building project - plumbing and establishment of a vegetable garden.
Mercy House for street children in DaLat was given shoes, uniforms and 2 months supply of food for the 60 children . During this experience we came across dishonesty first hand. One of the volunteers who accompanied us shopping, later returned to the grocery shop from which we had arranged delivery, tried to cancel the order and have the shop refund her the money. Fortunately, the owner knew us and what we do. She refused and alerted Sr Dau from Cam Ly Minority School to let us know what happened. Although this was an unnerving experience and necessitated an awkward conversation with Mr Bao from the Red Cross, it showed us that many people in Da Lat know what we do, were able to intervene and not give the woman any money. As in all tings to date, Mr Bao was very honest about this and took immediate action to check that all we had purchased was safe. Lily has spoken with Mr Bao since our return on another matter and he assures us the children are still getting their food and there has been no further corruption.
We see no useful long term role for us here at present but may revisit next trip (?health checks).
Our 4th shopping trip was for a Buddhist Orphanage with the head nun and 14 children.
We bought food but we can see no long term involvement here except possible for health checks.
The other projects we visited with the Red Cross were not suitable for our type of help as they were well established and seemed to be doing very well. They also asked for donations for expensive buildings rather than food or clothing and this is not what we can get involved in with our limited resources. Mr Bao understands MESCH is a small organisation which can help with small projects and supplying some essentials.
Continue contact with Mr Bao
This trip proved to be emotionally and ethically challenging being faced with the questions “who do we help” and “why help this group and not another”. Sometimes the answers were obvious - at other times they were not.
Abbott (Paul Silveri)
Angus & Robertson Kotara (Sue)
Australian Geographic Kotara (Nami Jones)
Australian Reptile park (Alana)
B Braun (Nina Morris)
Barbeques Galore Kotara (Tony Brown)
Belaroma Coffee (Grant Feenstra)
Big Green surgical company (Antony Bennet)
Blackbutt Hotel New Lambton (Troy and Fiona)
Body Science International (Selasi Berdie)
Borders, Kotara (Corey Ramsay)
Broadmeadow Road Day Surgery
Brown Sugar at Bayviews
Carefusion (Karen Babet)
Cellarbrations Kotara (Terry Jeffery)
Cellarmaster Wines Pty Ltd (Melissa Desmond)
Charlotte, Liz and Brett Field (Doyle)
Cold Rock Ice Creamery Hamilton (Ben Hofman)
Coles, Warners Bay
Contours Warners Bay
Darrell Lea Kards & Kandy Kotara (Marie Martinelli)
Designs for vision (Julie Sarsfield)
Drummond Golf Kotara (Michael Loughland and Sally Radford)
Endocorp Australia (Ferdinand Lehnard)
Energy Australia (Ben Roberts)
Euro Patisserie (Jenny)
Fibreoptic Lightguides (Liz & John Cowley)
Fordtronic (Stewart Ford)
Glenn Geary, The Good Guys Kotara (Sue)
Gloria Jean's Coffees Westfield (Lee Jenkins)
Greater Union Cinemas Glendale (Michelle Lawson)
Hunter Valley Private Hospital
J & J Sutures (Murray Slee)
Just liberated (Jennie McAuley)
Katz Pty Ltd
Lathams Music (Fiona Latham-Cannon)
Larimar Mind body and soul (Deb Morrison)
Lingard Private Hospital
Martines (Anthony McGavin)
Multigate (Alanna Leighton)
Newcastle X ray
Pacific Smiles Group (Alex Abrahams)
Picture Framing Australia (Sandy and Dennis)
Ramsay health, Warners Bay Private Hospital (Robyn White)
Ramsay health, Lake Macquarie Pvte Hospital (John Pitsonis)
Rebel Kotara (Mark Abbott)
Remic Maintenance Services
RM Williams (Phoebe Loneragan)
Rotary Club of Maitland
Rotary Club of Newcastle Sunrise
Scott & Louise Moore
Stephanie and Phil Berick
Tattersall (Alison and Geoff)
Taronga Conservation Society Australia (Penny Scalora)
Verathon Canada (Gary Edwards, Hashim Behdasht)
Involvement of Rotary has significantly improved our appeal to business sponsors and the tax deductibility for volunteers is welcome. Many members of that organisation have considerable experience in building projects and we look forward to clarifying details of our exact relationship with Rotary. Slow to return receipts. Project is approved by RAWCS – “Paediatric surgical team DaLat”, project number 84/2010-11. Contact is Mr Jack Elliott. Any cheques made out to “RAWCS overseas aid fund”
We need to consider how to improve this and look forward to clarifying details of our exact relationship with Rotary.
Independent charitable status
Much of the background has been done for this. However, we would need to find people to establish a board and find a friendly accountant to set this up and there are ongoing costs. Undecided about whether to pursue
We had significant monetary boosts from Westfield Kotara, Trivia night, Trash and treasure, Chocolate bars, Markets and Ramsay Health (Lake Macquarie Hospital)
Trivia night feedback good. Suggest less silent auction. More time on sponsored items.
“Corporate” funding accounted for 1/3 of overall income
See separate accounting spreadsheet for details
Schools ("gold coins" etc)
Holy Family primary school Merewether beach (Mark Twohill). No reply
Newcastle East public school – Mr John Beach. They have committed to sister school project (see below)
SFX Julia Lederwasch has DVD. School council will review. Need to follow up
St James Kotara sth – Lucy Harvey suggests speaking with Mr Bowen (principal) or John Cootes
San Clemente (Mary Zeeman is secretary to principal Tony Kelly firstname.lastname@example.org). Not this time
SPX (40132630 Frances Bowen secretary to Mr Bob Emery). Not this time
Car clubs – John S, John Mayo, Shirley – letters sent to both MG car clubs. Positive response. Letters sent 2 Feb 2011. Shirley says that the request has been tabled
Westfield Kotara – New manager “Ryan” needs to be contacted re followup
Lee Jenkins (Gloria Jeans) – weekend donation “event”
Walk along lake with band at the end – Renee, Andrew Warners Bay
Bike ride with celebrity or historical facts
Cooking class – Vn or Paul
Chic flick night
Bunnings BBQ: policy is funds must be spent locally.
The Junction Public school – Mrs Cheek. No follow-up
Meeting to arrange fundraisers TBA
www.mesch.org.au. Kent O’Sullivan has designed it. Input form Peter Turner. Videos and picture gallery up and running.
We need statement on it re not using Paypal
We need a facebook page – Mark and Amelia Ham to do
We need a logo. Narelle has put up options for discussion