Margo Neal, a member of the Malibu Rotary Club, at a rural clinic outside Mérida. Photo: Malibu Rotary Facebook page

A group of 130 Rotarians from the United States chose Mérida for their latest goodwill mission.

Backpacks with school supplies were handed out by Rotarians in Mérida. Photo: KTHS

“We were a mixed group of 130-plus American Rotarians — all faiths, all races — yet not one word about politics,” said Margo Neal, of the Malibu, Calif., Rotary Club. “It was all about providing service to the people in and around Mérida. That’s pretty amazing in this year of political upheaval.”

The Rotarians arrived with life-improving gifts for people in need. In five days, they got a lot done.

They delivered 50 personal water filtration systems and sewing machines for families, planted 600 native trees with either nutritional or medicinal value, and donated a baking table and kitchen equipment to a school with special-needs children.

They also provided medical equipment for a for diabetic patients and for a dental clinic, 35 backpacks with school supplies and art supplies for an after-school program.

Source: Malibu Rotary Facebook page

“I love going on these humanitarian trips where we can provide goods and services that help people improve their lives,” she said. 

“These Rotarian humanitarian trips really do help people improve their lives,” Neal said. 

Aside from providing medical supplies, the Rotarians conducted a session in which they drew blood and took patients’ blood pressure.

“Every year, (the Rotary Club) always plans a humanitarian trip to somewhere in Central or South America,” said Louis J. Esbin, a Rotary member in Santa Clarita, Calif.

Esbin recalled that during the trip, when they were handing out backpacks, he asked to snap a photo of a school girl with the backpack. But she wouldn’t smile because she had a cleft palate.

With help from the local Rotary Club, they were able to connect her with Operation Smile to make an appointment. 

“The surgery took about 45 minutes … (and it) brought a smile to a child. Overall, it was a very worthwhile trip,” said Esbin.

Sources: Malibu Surfside News, KHTS-AM Santa Clarita