On a recent weekend in February, Rotarians from five states and six Rotary districts traveled by coach bus to Caborca, Sonora, Mexico, on what has become an annual humanitarian pilgrimage to assist the members of the “Club Rotario de Caborca” with the polio inoculation of children in the ejidos (villages) outside the city of Caborca. Half of the 50 Rotarians on this year’s trip were from Arizona Rotary Districts 5495 and 5500. Rotarians from California, Nevada, Louisiana and Alabama also joined us on our Friday to Sunday adventure.
Most of Saturday morning and early afternoon was spent in small groups, with the assistance of public health nurses and a Caborca Rotarian, walking the streets of several ejidos west of Caborca all the way to the Sea of Cortez, knocking on doors, locating families with young children and administering the polio vaccine. While inoculating young children with the “Two Drops of Life” is the main purpose of our journey, there is much more to this trip that we Rotarians can be proud of. 
Each Rotarian attending is expected to solicit his/her respective club, and one or more other Rotary clubs in their Area, for donations to the “Caborca Children’s Medical Fund.” An increased emphasis on the benefits to children from needy Caborca area families over the past several years has resulted in the more than doubling our gift amount. This year when we passed the hat we raised over $11,000, and our donations are matched by the Caborca Rotary Club. At our Saturday evening dinner gathering with our Caborca Rotary brothers, we got to meet a couple of the children that our funding has benefitted. We witnessed two toddlers born with physical deformities to their legs who, with the assistance of a child-sized walker, were able to negotiate the aisle in the Club Rotario clubhouse. These are two of 17 active cases that the fund is currently helping.
A final program in which we participate is partnering with the Caborca Rotarians, and the other clubs and districts represented on our trip, to pledge funds for a Global Grant initiated by the Caborca Rotary club. Our latest successfully-completed effort was a $85,000 Global Grant to purchase a brand new, made-to-order medical van that will service the dental needs of children and provide prenatal monitoring and cervical cancer testing for women in the same ejidos we visited to administer the polio drops. The Medical Van was available for our inspection during our recent visit.
Many thanks to the members of the Club Rotario de Caborca for their hospitality and delicious food. Thanks also to the Caborca Health Ministry, without whose cooperation in securing public health nurses and the polio vaccine, our efforts would not be possible.
Our yearly February pilgrimage to Caborca has limited attendance and is open to Rotary club members only. The trip is advertised to all Rotarians in District 5495 in the late fall and always has more applicants than there are seats available, thus requiring a lottery system to choose participants. All Rotarians from our district are encouraged to apply. Each year we try to provide for both repeat and new Rotarian attendees.
The opportunity to participate in this project is much appreciated by the Rotarians attending, and gratefully received by our hosts
Respectfully submitted by Noel J DeSousa, AZ Caborca Polio Plus project coordinator