President’s Comment – 25 Feb 18

Hi All,

We have arrived in Cape Town after a fabulous 3 weeks touring eastern South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. A beautiful land of spectacular scenery and friendly people from both wealthy and poor means. We have had poor Wifi for the later half of our trip so I have been unable to post regularly. Hope that the meetings chaired by Marilyn have been going well.

Yesterday we toured Khayelitsha, an informal township near Cape Town Airport that houses 1.5 million residents in very poor housing. We were guided by a local who explained that the township was established during the apartheid era but since that era has grow much larger due to poor subsistance farmers moving here to try and find employment and make money to improve their families life. He explained that living conditions have improved marginally but communal water points are often far away and portable toilets have to be carried up to 1 kilometer or more to be emptied.

People in employment are able to pay for improved housing in these townships and some actually choose to build new homes if they are earning enough. There are some postive signs but the government is struggling to afford to supply the infrastructure required to improve the situation. Their biggest problem is that new subsistence farmers continue to move into the towns looking for wealth.

A huge problem continues to exist with HIV in these communities but good work is being done to educate and treat those who are HIV positive.

Today we drove past the Coolamon Clinic at Hout Bay that was built with funds provided by the fundraising efforts of DGE John Glassford’s trek to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Rotary Clubs of Coolamon, Hout Bay, D9700 and a matching grant from the Rotary Foundation. It makes me proud to be a Rotarian when you see our work in action.

See more about this project at:

President’s Comment – 11 Feb 18

Hi All,

Our Wifi connections have been very limited this past few days with our visit to Kruger National Park, Imofolozi Game Reserve and the St. Lucia Estuary, iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

I am having trouble uloading photos for some unknown reason so sorry cannot show images this week.

We have been very fortunate to have seem multiple close encounters with all the big 5 and more. We have seem family groups of elephants, single lions and a group of three male lions right next to the road, at least 5 rhino’s in mating pairs, buffalo in singles and groups, hippopotami in family groups and a single leopard resting in a tree about 150 metres off the road.

The highlight for me was a walk in Kruger with just Carolyn and two rangers both armed with rifles. We saw a number of animals including a family of elphants about 100 metres from us, but we will never forget meeting up with a lone male buffalo who was drinking in a creek. He was just 10 metres in front on their own and can be very aggressive.

After our experiences here in Africa I have a greater understanding of the importance of DGE John Glassford’s initiative to form the Rotary Action Group for Endangered Species –

Please have a look at their website and consider joining their worthwhile cause.

President’s Comment – 4 Feb 18

Hi All,

Highlight of this week was catching up with Rotary friends from D1080 where I led the D9700 GSE team in 2008. Howard Olby a member of the D1080 GSE team who is now second in charge of security for Norfolk and Suffolk Police, arranged for us to attend the Church service at the chapel at Sandringham Castle. No photos were allowed.

We were priveleged to see the Queen, Prince Phillip, the Princess Royal and her husband and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester attend the service last Sunday.

We had lunch afterwards at a pub with Howard and his family and Sarah Jane Lumley another of the D1080 team and her partner Garry.

On Tuesday we attended the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Norwich St. Edmunds. We enjoyed the fellowship of quite a few of my hosts from 10 years ago.

This week we have travelled from Norfolk to Oxford and now to Clovelly in Devon. Tomorrow we fly to Dubai for a few days.

This is an interesting article.

Two brothers take aim at eradicating Hepatitis

brothers take aim at eliminating hepatitis

On the way to Paraguay, one month into the expedition.

By Fred Mesquita, Rotary Club of São Paulo-Jardim das Bandeiras, São Paulo, Brazil

Two brothers, a car, one important social cause, a lot of courage, and many adventures along the way. That’s how our Expedition “Me Leva Junto” (Take me with you) began in October 2015, now more commonly known as the “Hepatitis Zero Expedition.”

My brother José Eduardo and I completed the first stage of our expedition, the Americas, in December, traveling through 20 countries and visiting 274 cities on the American continent. All our efforts are volunteer; there is no sponsorship from any company or organization.

Fred Mesquita and his brother, José Eduardo, in Nicaragua preparing for a newspaper interview.

When we started our journey, we set a goal of carrying out hundreds of thousands of Hepatitis C exams and visiting all the world’s continents. Besides having a direct impact on more than 50,000 people, we never dreamed that we would lunch with a country’s president, swim with a whale shark, or be the guests of honor at a banquet with a homeless person who only had a mud hut to live in. Our experiences have also included difficulties like almost being kidnapped in Mexico and having our tent freeze and car break down due to extreme cold in Patagonia.

There are so many adventures and challenges that we have recorded in our virtual book; which narrates the twists and turns of our expedition. In Brazil, we performed approximately 10,000 rapid tests and diagnosed more than 100 hepatitis sufferers who had their lives saved when they were diagnosed and directed for treatment. Our aim is to bring knowledge and guidance to thousands of people worldwide who have hepatitis and have not been diagnosed. We have visited Rotary clubs throughout the Americas as well as meeting with health authorities and experts at universities and other locations.

Countries visited include Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, United States, Cuba, Canada, Iceland.

You can support our effort by visiting our crowdfunding campaign. All of the proceeds of our virtual book go to supporting our expedition.