19th Dec Tuesday – 7.50am (SGT) Flight from Changi Airport to Medan International Airport. It had been raining the last whole days, but that didn’t drench our sprits nor delay our scheduled 1 hour flight to Medan. We landed and cleared customs, little do we know we “brought the rain over” from Singapore as well. We were greeted by Isabella’s dad (I will call her Lisa from here to keep things short) and the president of the rotaract dialysis center. We were treated to a welcome breakfast where we get to know our host and hostness better.
Medan Rotary Center
We headed to the Medan rotary center, Medan, which is also the home of the rotaract club Medan juvemile. There we were given a tour of the facilities, a view of the dialysis, the dialysis machines and how it is performed.
There is a free clinic on the first floor with a healthy strength of 3 doctors, there we were also introduced to the consultation rooms and pharmacy.
Furthermore the whole place is relatively self sufficient, with funds earn from the hairstyling school and blind massage (which I will touch on shortly) otherwise it’s by donations and , which comes mainly from businessman like Isabella’s dad himself, he is also one of the founders of the place and the whole place is chaired by the Medan President who is a very kind lady.
On the upper floors we were introduced to the blind massage area, painting and reemphasizing that the blind are still useful people to the community. They do this by providing hour long head-to-toe massages for 10000rp (about $1.80SGD), proceeds will go into providing for their necessities and running the center as a whole. The whole center is very self sufficient, with its own kitchen, staff and a dedicated diesel generator at the rear courtyard to keep operations running in time of power failure. What is more amazing is the blind’s ability to sense around the place as a normal human being, they can tell where people and obstacles are without even going by touch, they can even get from floor to floor in a speedily manner as well. As joked by Lisa’s dad there was once a blackout at night and the blinds actually had to lead the customers out of the premises, very commendable indeed.
From there, we made our way through the Medan traffic to our host’s home- Sutomo where we will be spending most of our nights there. As told by Lisa its very common in Medan for families to run businesses on the ground floor and live on the uppers, similar lisa family is doing as well. The other interesting thing in Medan is the traffic, we were told that you can get your driving license after 16 practical lessons with no test, bogged by theory? Simply pay 10000rp & you are cleared. But though given this, I can say that the drivers in Medan are very very much more skilled than Singaporean drivers, we are just too pampered on Singapore roads. With the exception of the lack of highway codes and lane markings, traffic at median is an experience by itself – Their public buses are zippy little vans, taxis are tri-motorcycles.
Visited a nearby Indian temple, where we were greeted by a kind caretaker who let us in and brought us round explaining their traditions to us.
Rotary Youth exchange Dinner was at a restaurant at merdeka walk (an orchard road equivalent) where we sat at a long table face to face allowing us to interact with not only the Medan Rotary members, but those from Malaysia and the members all the way from Bali.
The day ended with a meeting in our bedrooms planning the line of activities for the local school visit tomorrow.
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