From Wayne Brewer, ROMAC Representative District 9920

ROMAC is a totally Rotary funded project offering life saving and dignity enhancing surgery for Pacific Island children that is not available to them in their home countries.  ROMAC operates across all districts in Australia and New Zealand.

In Auckland the families are accommodated at Ronald McDonald House, mainly for surgery at Starship, and are hosted by local Rotary clubs who provide support and look after the family's day to day needs.  Some clubs have a group of members sharing this most rewarding activity of caring for families in need.  The ROMAC NZ committee offers full support and guidance.

Elizabeth Thomson from Downtown Rotary, whose report follows, has hosted a number of families and is currently looking after Ben Mahit and his mother Mayling from Vanuatu.  Also in Ronald McDonald House at the moment is Jasminah and his mother Angelina.  They are being hosted by Josie Adriaansen and the Rotary Club of Brown's Bay, District 9910.

Elizabeth's report:-

Little Ben Mahit arrived in New Zealand from Vanuatu with his mother Mayling on 24 July.  Ben is 19 months old and was born with a hole in his heart which required surgery.  He has come to New Zealand under the ROMAC programme.  I joined other Rotarians at the airport to meet Ben and Mayling and took them to Ronald MacDonald House.  Before they arrived I did a supermarket shop and bought some warm clothing for them.
Ben had three appointments at Starship prior to his surgery which I attended with him.  He had his surgery about two weeks after his arrival.  While he was waiting we went on a few outings.  We went to a playground several times, went shopping and also went to Kelly Tarlton’s.
The day of the surgery was very stressful for Mayling and while we waited to hear that all had gone well we visited the museum.  Ben has made a remarkable recovery and was only in hospital for three days!  During his stay there I spent most of the day with them.  Mayling speaks very little English and I think she was grateful of the support.  Ben needs to stay in New Zealand for approximately six weeks after the surgery.  He has three appointments which I will attend.
We are planning outings to the zoo and a few other places and I need to top up the grocery stocks from time to time.  Ben would not have been able to have this surgery in his own country and thanks to the ROMAC programme he is now able to go home and lead a completely normal life.  The picture at left  in the Rarotonga tee shirt was taken less than two days after the operation!!
If you and your club would like to host please contact Barbara Watt, ROMAC Club Liaison Co-ordinator,