My father was a keen Rotarian, first with Keilor and then with Carlton, and from him, I developed respect for what Rotary does.
I was active on a humanitarian project in Timor Leste involving eye-surgery, and was asked to fill in as guest speaker on this topic at short notice at Rotary Glenferrie. I liked the club, joined 13 years ago, and have great admiration for my colleagues.

The International Director at the time asked me to find an offshore project.  I had been to Timor Leste with a team twice, but the 2006 uprising made it unsafe so I went to Indonesia instead.  I discovered that Sumba needed considerable help. 
At first Rotary was a little reluctant to become involved, but were persuaded and I have been visiting with Kew Rotarian and optometrist Peter Stewart every six months since 2007.  We have taken another Rotarian and worked with a team of eye-care nurses.  It is one of the best projects I’ve ever done in my life, and I have Rotary to thank for it.

A project like that, though, is not everyone’s cup of tea.  Once, a visiting Rotarian accidentally mixed his anti-malarials with constipation tablets and was in trouble for some days! Whilst COVID-19 has restricted personal interactions, projects and fund-raising, I believe we will still see some later benefits, such as better use of technology. Rotarians are different individuals, but they are all volunteers, selfless and genuinely want to help.

I still work as an ophthalmologist almost full-time, golf at Kew with Rotarians from other clubs, and sometimes find time to play saxophone and guitar. Even if you are time poor, Rotary is a great organisation and there are so many different ways to get involved and to continue learning. 

My key message is: the more you put in the more you get out!.