10 April: District 5160 Vocational Team (Kenya Smiles Dentists) – at Sunset!

Rotarian Nader El Kabanny and his hotel crew had our meeting room decked out in special array for this evening’s visit of District Governor Laura Day, D 5160 International Project Team Leader Sheila Hurst and the Kenya Smiles Dental Vocational Team. Solano Sunset was the one Solano County club honored with this visit.

Rotarian Joan Sumagaysay led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

So many VIPs were in attendance that President Tom asked Assistant District Governor Ken Courville to do the honors. VIPS included ADG Fred Ehler, ADG Jon Dwyer, Past District Governor Candy Pierce, and Past District Governor Earl Kilmer. Also visiting were Randy Nelson, President of the Vacaville Sunrise clubMike DiazBill VizzoliniLaGuan Lea and Tony Intintoli of the Vallejo noon club. Finally, former Rotarian John Comyns was a guest of Rotarian Mike Preovolos and Former Dixon Mayor Mary Ann Courville was Ken‘s guest.

Without further ado, President Tom introduced District Governor Laura who introduced our guests of special honor, Kenya Smiles Vocational team members Dr Stephen Irungu (Chief Dental Officer,

Kenya Dental Society President Dr Jane Wamai with President Tom

Kenya Dental Society President Dr Jane Wamai with President Tom

Kenya Ministry of Health), Dr Jane Wamai (President of the Kenya Dental Association), Dr Linus Ndegwa (Dentist in Charge, Aga Kahn University Hospital) , Dr Kimithi Mwongera (Lecturer, Kenya Methodist University), Dr Regina Mutave (Chair, Department of Periodontology / Community and Preventive Dentistry, University of Nairobi) and Dr Peter Gaitho (President-elect, Rotary Club of Meru).

Each member of the team briefly discussed his or her goals for the Kenya Smiles program. These largely involved increasing availability of dental care throughout a nation of 23 million people and but 600 dentists. They also emphasized the need to teach Kenyan children good tooth brushing technique, and to provide them with tooth brushes and tooth paste. They emphasized the challenges they face in a nation too poor to provide even a sufficient number of dental operatories / offices. For example, of the government’s roughly 250 hospitals, only about 100 actually have dental clinics, and the national health budget allows for an increase of only 3 – 4 clinics per year.

After President Tom present each guest with a small box of chocolates from Vallejo’s own famed Liled’s Candy Kitchen, and the book Vallejo by Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum Director Jim Kern. Tom closed the meeting at 6.15, but the conversation continued for another hour or so.

Special thanks to Rotarians Nader El Kabanny, Samuel Thompson, Gina Snyder, Cathy Preovolos, Bryant Burleigh and Past President Brian Kendall, whose efforts made this special meeting a perfectly professional operation.

Next week: Tawni Kendall returns to teach us more about Google+ a tool to help Rotarians stay in closer touch.

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