Friday, November 17, 2006


It is with great excitement and eagerness that I travel to Niger for the first time. I have been a volunteer on a National Immunization Rotary Volunteer Team eight times before, traveling repeated times to India, and once each to Mali and Egypt. This volunteer team to Niger will be my second opportunity serving as a co-leader of a team, sharing with the first timers the sensory overload of a new culture and a new country. More importantly is sharing the same mission of contributing to making a world that is polio free.

For me, delivering polio drops into the mouth of a child is especially gratifying, perhaps more so than to others. There is the knowledge that I am helping in an area with limited resources and limited access to preventable medicines, but it is more than that. As a polio survivor, I do not want others to face the often painful experiences polio brought me. Polio brings not only physical pain but also emotional pain. In a world where we have had a polio vaccine for over 50 years, others should not have to experience polio's effects. I grew up with a favorite Uncle who contracted polio when he was five years old. His strengths and ability to cope with his handicap were an inspiration to me, not only as a child but also as an adult. My Uncle is now a paraplegic, unable to even feed himself, due to the effects of post polio syndrome. For you see, polio is cruel both in it's initial wrath upon one's body and in its ability to destruct further in later years. It is sad enough to imagine life as a disabled person in a poor developing country. But even worse, imagine life as an aging polio survivor in a developing country unaware of post polio effects and with limited medical resources. The images of the crawlers in the streets of India during my very first NID trip haunt me to this day. I am fortunate. I have polio but I was born in an area where I received great medical attention early in my illness. I know I am blessed when compared to so many others.

And so, I continue my journeys to do my small part to make a polio-free life for others. As I leave on each trip I am reminded of my Uncle's words the first time I traveled to immunize for polio, "If you can prevent just one child from suffering from polio, you will have done your job." I know I have accomplished his request but I feel my job is not finished and so off to Niger with old friends, eager to make new friends.

My Thanksgiving will only mean more this year than in past years. I have much to be thankful for, including this opportunity to help those in far more need than I. I am truly blessed this holiday season.

Ann Lee Hussey
Rotary Club of South Berwick, Maine District 7780


At 9:03 PM, Blogger Dennis said...

Hope you are all doing well and helping a lot of people. Tell Kathy Branham that Pam and Dennis are thinking about her and praying for her mission.

Dennis Massengill

At 9:06 PM, Blogger Dennis said...

I hope all of you are doing well on your wonderful mission. Our prayers are with you. Say hello to our special friend, Kathy Branhsm.

Dennis and Pam

At 8:24 AM, Blogger Sharon Beckwith said...

Bless you Ann- Immunize a couple of those angels for me.

At 4:10 PM, Blogger martythompson said...

Hey Auntie! We missed you around the dining room table this year, but then you are off saving children and doing a mission of worldly peace and goodwill. All is well here. Hope you're taking lots of great pictures as usual and learning alot too! See you soon!
Marty and Don and Sam and Abby


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