Expedition Team: Dave Miller

Date: January 1997

Partnering with several Mexican Rotary Clubs, the New Lebanon Rotary Club and my Moraine Rotary Club received a $150,000 grant from Rotary International to set up offices and mobile cervical cancer detection and treatment centers in rural south/central Mexico. Undiagnosed female Mexicans were dying at an alarming rate. Me and seventeen Rotarian’s flew to Mexico City, were driven 100 km south to several cities and stayed with Mexican Rotarian families for a week. I stayed with a family of four in Cocoyoc in the state of Morelos. I helped set up a local clinic (Photo #1) and went with a local eye doctor to screen and provide glasses to poor rural people. I had brought 700 pair of used eyeglasses with me.

I got to visit Tepoztlan and hike up an ancient Aztec mountain trail to a Aztec temple ruins Photo#2). I visited two Mexican rotary clubs and met many fine Rotarians. One day Rotarian Antonio and I took a bus 113 miles to Mexico City with the active volcano Popocatepetl (17,930 feet in height) in the distance. We visited the famous National Museum of Anthropology which has 23 rooms of Aztec and other artifacts (Photo#3 & #4). We saw “VW Bugs” everywhere. It seemed like over half of Mexico city’s cars were Volkswagen Beetles (Photo#5). At the market booths I purchased Mexican dresses for my daughters and a wood puppet for one of my sons. Restaurants were usually beautiful open air settings (Photo#6).

The climate in the state of Morelos where I stated with Antonio and Marisa and their two daughters, was almost perfect. Over 70% of the state was warm and humid with an average year round temperature of 77 degrees. they didn’t have any screens on their windows as they had no insect problem. Their house required no heat or air conditioning.

I also got to attend an outdoor Catholic Mass spoken in Spanish set up in a beautiful shaded grotto by a stream.  As for one facet of the Rotary project, when working with the eye doctor, a 74 year old poor Mexican man was examined and we found a pair of used eyeglasses that matched his farsightedness. He got up, threw down his cane and did a little dance while crying. The doctor interpreted his comments for me. He said he has not seen clearly in over 14 years. Now we can see what his great grand children really look like. As I have told my children many times, You Can make a Difference in the World One Person at a time. Through Rotary. I have.

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