KOLOA – Dr. Craig Nishimoto, DVM, and his wife, Annette, recently returned from an international service project in Cambodia on behalf of the Rotary Club of Poipu Beach.
They worked with a sister Rotary club in Pursat Province, Cambodia, to provide supplies and assistance for the Chheutal Rong Village Preschool and to provide rabies vaccinations for local dogs to reduce the spread of disease.
In 2014, Rotary Club of Poipu Beach provided funding to build the preschool in a rural area of Cambodia. The building was constructed in partnership with volunteers from Rotary Club of Pursat, Sustainable Cambodia, Island School Interact, YouthLinc-Utah, and the Village of Chheutal Rong. In addition to a school building they also built a water catchment system (which was funded by students of the Island School-Kauai Interact club) and toilets for the school.
Since then, Rotary Club of Poipu Beach continues to provide assistance. The club pays half of the salary for the preschool teacher each year and also provides a nutritious breakfast for students each day. The preschool building is also a gathering place for the village.
During this service project trip, the Nishimotos brought school supplies, games, balls, and storybooks from Hawaii. They gave lessons in common Hawaiian words and even introduced American football to the village.
“It was great fun to introduce American footballs,” said Craig Nishimoto. “They were initially baffled by how to hold or throw them. And it was so rewarding to work directly with the students.”
As a veterinarian, Dr. Nishimoto also assisted to stop the spread of rabies in the area. The Nishimotos rode on motorcycles throughout the region to vaccinate local dogs for rabies. The goal is to hinder the spread of the disease. Treatment for people getting rabies is difficult to get in this part of Cambodia.
“In this rural area it was impossible to get people to bring the dogs in to a central location to see us, so we went to the dogs,” said Dr. Nishimoto. “This area is so rural that pet dogs have never had to use a leash or collar.”
Meetings of the Rotary Club of Poipu Beach are held each Wednesday at 7:15 a.m. at La Spezia Restaurant in Koloa. Rotary Club of Poipu Beach was created in 1982. The club has more than 35 professional members.