A MESSAGE FROM JOHN BENGER

I hope to have two open heart ROMAC patients and mothers at Monday's meeting plus Rev Iki who will interpret. Be nice to get a good turn up and it will be a good night to bring partners as they would like to see the direct results of some Rotary work. Please say hello to the Tongans. Regards John

It is heartwarming to see the response of fellow Rotarians as in the following letter:

To President Diane and Rotarians of Forest Hill

PP John Bindon said on Monday night that he has falling in love with 2 beautiful girls.

I too have come under the same influence.

What two delightful Tongan girls our Club has been given to foster under the banner of ROMAC — Lu'isa aged 7, (and her mother Lu'isa Leao) and Elisi aged 12, (her mother Fapiola Halafuka) It was my privilege to spend today with them, after the disappointment of being told their critical and crucial operations were deferred until some day - next week.

What a champion Rotary has in the person of Reverend Iki from the Tonga Church, for the ROMAC programme who helps the Tongans in translation, counselling, coordination and supports with transport as required, — “a highly-valued facilitator”. for the ROMAC organisation

We – (Lu'isa, Elisi, their mothers, Iki, Philip and I) started the day visiting the Salvo's Family store in Collingwood and getting stocked with shoes and clothing suitable for the inclement weather we are experiencing in Melbourne . (I was able to arrange each family with a $200.00 voucher to spend at the Salvo's Shop through the Salvation Army Migrant and Refuges department.)

Our two charming girls had great fun trying on the assortment of winter “warm”clothing they would not normally wear. They were quite stylish in their chosen attire. In-fact, I did not know it was so much fun in an Op-shop! Their mothers also had a field day with the Australian fashions.

I was expecting this to take about one hour, but like most people who love to shop, this activity took us about 2¾ hours. We then visited the Melbourne Museum and Exhibition building. Our beautiful girls had not seen a building over 4 stories until they landed in Melbourne, and were mesmerized in what they saw on our travels.

After all the extensive tests and examinations our beautiful girls have had over the past couple of days at the Children's hospital, I thought walking around a Museum might be very strenuous to them, yet how wrong I was. For after we had lunch (fish and chips) in the Dining area at the Museum, I was able to get free entrance tickets to the museum, (by telling the girls story,) I found it exhausting in keeping up with our two Princesses.

They were keen to look around at the exhibitions, and their enthusiasm and interest in exploring the contents on show showed me how intelligent they are. I was surprised on their knowledge of the Australian habitat. What amused me most was the 20 minutes we stood in front of 3 (head to foot) amusement mirrors that changed your statue image. (fat - skinny, large - small etc,) which caused us to laugh, and laugh, and make others around us laugh.

Although we had limited communication in understanding each other in English, the mirrors gave a common union. These mirrors that are found in many amusement centres, (which I have taken for granted,) were eye-boggling to both our gorgeous girls and their mothers. They had not seen anything like this before.

This reminded me again of the truth that the joys of life are often found in the simple.I canay today, with John Bindon, I fell in love with 2 beautiful and precious girls. I am now more interested in their pending operations, and hopeful that all goes well. I trust their healing recuperation will be quick and their future well-being positive.

If you want to “fall in love” with two choice girls we are fostering as a Club in the ROMAC programme, please speak with John Bindon and set up a time and opportunity to show an interest in your “Service above Self.”

K.G.

We are proud of this aspect of Rotary, and know that our caring Rotary Club will work with John Benger to make these young girl's stay as joyous as possible and hope for a trouble free outcome.