I spent my professional life as a Gynaecologist/Obstetrician in California and I retired in 1994, moving with my Welsh wife to Aberdare, in Wales, her birthplace. I first joined Rotary in Sunnyvale, California, in 1960. Before that, as a schoolboy, I was a “Junior Rotarian” and I had once met Paul Harris when he visited our sponsoring Rotary Club in Peoria, Illinois. I joined the Rotary Club of Aberdare in 1994 and shortly after I joined, one of the members mentioned a new project, a Rotary Doctor Bank. As well as my medical background, I had some organizational experience, so I sent my CV to George Mercer, then Chair of our infant Doctor Bank committee. George asked me if I would like to go to Africa and I said yes. However, at that stage, our committee had not vetted any hospitals in Africa who might need someone like me. Thus it was that I was seconded to the Swedish Rotary Doctor Bank (the pattern for RIBI Doctor Bank) and served as Consultant Gynaecologist/Obstetrician at a hospital on the island of Pemba, off the east coast of Africa between Tanzania and Zanzibar. I spent 7 weeks on Pemba in spring, 1995 and I have fond memories of my time there.
After my “tour” I served as a medical advisor on the Committee for close to 15 years and I am very pleased to see that RIBI’s Doctor Bank is doing so well 20 years on.