Posted by Susan Weaver
Have you considered but have not yet gone on a Polio NID trip? Share the recent experience of our  NID Team - Brenda Allison, Kay Bliss, Chris Bruney, Sandra England, PDG Jeri Fujimoto, Evelyn Garfield-Loker, PDG Anil Garg, Debra Hale, Maud Huey-Kenyon, John Kenyon, Judy Moore, Jeanne Potter, Michelle Velarde, Mike Weaver, Susan Weaver, Connie Young, and PDG Stephen Zabor - in this day-by-day photo diary.
Day 1- January 25th: Eighteen team members gather in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, India, to participate in the first National Immunization Day of 2018 (there will be another in March).  We represent eleven different Rotary Clubs - 6 from District 5240, one each from California Districts 5150, 5230, one from Colorado D5450, one from Canadian District 5080, and one from Ohio District 6630.  One of our troup is a friend of Rotary, but not yet a member (operable word here is ‘yet’). For most of us, this is our first NID experience.  This was Anil’s 18th NID. Maud and John Kenyon are also old hands. It was Steve Zabor’s 2nd time.  On our itinerary for the day: visits to UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and the Rotary Polio Plus Office for briefings about the up-to-the-minute status of the effort to eradicate polio. Our heads are stuffed with statistics!
Day 2 -January 26th: We divide into teams and head out the cities where we will be actively involved in the NID activities.  We travel by SUVs to Agra, Aligarh, Bareilly, and Hathras where we are introduced to our local Rotary hosts. For the next four days we will stay in their homes, getting to know them, learning about their involvement in Rotary, and enjoying the hospitality and cuisine for which India is justifiably famous.
Day 3 - January 27th: In our various locales we spend the day attending the local Polio Parades to encourage participation in the innoculation program and later visiting local Rotary projects. It is inspiring to see the projects, and also food for thought about possible future grant collaborations between our respective clubs. 
Day 4 - January 28th: We spend the day visiting the NID Booths in various parts of the cities. Each booth visit is a festive affair filled with balloons, colorful visors and flags.  It is our first opportunity to administer the 2-drops of oral polio vaccine and to paint the pinkies purple of those innocculated, but our main mission is to let the staff and volunteers at these booths know how much their work is appreciated.  We are here for one day.  They have been working diligently for years.  It has taken a huge and sustained effort to get to the point where there have been no new cases of polio reported in India since 2011.  The day is filled with smiles and high-fives and Vs for victory and ThisClose hand signs. The children are enchanting.  
Day 5 - January 29th:  We spend this day accompanying the local polio workers and the WHO representatives as they go door-to-door noting the number of children in each household, tracking each one’s immunization record, administering drops to any child under the age of five who was not immunized at a booth on the previous day, making note of any child who cannot take the drops because of illness or absence and making plans for follow-up visits to make sure no one is missed.  It is an arduous day.  The accuracy and completeness of record-keeping is astounding.  We are blown-away by the effort.
Day 6 - January 30: This is a travel day for most teams as we all reassemble in Agra. For the team from Bareilly it is a long day as a general strike closes some of the roads and requires them to detour. This evening we attend a three-club Rotary meeting where we are garlanded and feted as honored guests.  We have a blast! 
Day 7 - January 31:  We are up and out of the hotel by 6 a.m. for a group trip to visit the Taj Mahal.  It is a pleasant respite for us.  Though the fog has been rather thick in the morning for the past few days, we catch a break and it lifts soon after we arrive at the monument.  It is as beautiful as we had hoped, and by our early arrival we have missed the crowds.  We return to our hotel to check out, eat lunch, and then get back on the bus for a trip to Fatehpur Sikri, capital of the Mughal Empire from 1571 to 1585, as red as the Taj Mahal is white.  Then we are back on the bus for our return trip to Delhi.  Along the way we stop to see the triple moon - blue moon, super moon, blood moon - a rare and beautiful experience. The half moon in India appeared horizontal, that is lit from the bottom not the side, a Chesire cat smile in the sky.
Day 8 - February 1: We visit St. Stephen’s Hospital, where polio corrective surgeries are performed and are inspired by the work being done by Dr. Mathew Varghese and his colleagues.  Later we tour the Rotary Blood Bank. Rotary’s presence and visibility in Delhi is amazing.  There is a whole lot of good being done here with Rotary dollars.  We have the late afternoon and evening off to rest, to go shopping or to do some more sightseeing.  
Day 9 - February 2: We are each off on our own after a remarkable and extremely rewarding experience.  Armed with what we have seen and heard, we will be making presentations to our clubs and generally spreading the word of the remarkable work that has been and is being done.  
To learn more about the on-the-ground local effort involved in the NID, please see the February issue of the D5240 Rotary Foundation Newsletter, and keep current on the numbers by reading the newsletter every month to see just how close we are to the goal of wiping polio off the face of the earth.  And please, please, please give generously to Polio Plus!