My Rotary Moment came about when I attended the completion ceremony of our school, William Lamport Primary School, in rural Huishui, Guizhou, in January 2012.  All students lined up in two rows at the entrance on this chilling cold January morning, greeting our delegation with smiles, singing and clapping their little hands, welcoming us to the Completion Ceremony.

The school was sponsored by our Club, Rotary Club of Hong Kong Island East, and the Lamport family, in memory of our long time Rotarian, the late William Lamport. The idea started two years before the completion of the school, during which the location of the school had changed a few times, money wired and rewired, before we finally got it all confirmed, thanks to our service partner, Charity Foundation.

At the start of the ceremony, the students lined up according to their classes, standing tall, their clothing barely allowed them  to survive in the cold winter of Guizhou, most of their shoes were worn out, and the general size of these students were smaller and thinner than their age.  As the icy rain began to fall heavily on the ground, they still sang and performed happily for us; my eyes were wet when at the end of the performance, they came and placed a scarf on our neck to show their appreciation for building a more sturdy and modern building for them to study and learn.

At the lunch where we had hotpot, two very thin little girls stood beside us to serve; we saw them trying to hide their hungry appearance. After we finished with all the toasting formalities with the officials, we invited the two girls to eat with us. They initially refused, and they only sat down with us after the headmaster agreed so; once they did, they immediately went for the meat in the hotpot. We were told that meat is a luxury, and they very seldom have the chance of a full meal let alone eating meat.

Bill and Melinda Gates in their address to Stanford Graduates this year asked them to truly connect with the poor and sick and channel those experiences into making the world a better place; shouldn’t we do so, as a Rotarian?

Heman Lam

Rotary Club of Hong Kong Island East

President 2010-11