Monday, 19 November 2012

Day 11 - Last Day at Smokey Mountain

Today was our last day at the Smokey Mountain clinic. It will be hard to forget the images of poverty in this area. Smokey Mountain is so named because it is built on and around an old garbage dump. Many people, including children, make their living scavenging garbage and recycling. We see people bathing in buckets along the side of the road, children in dirty and tattered clothing playing amongst the garbage, and whole families living in rough shanties. It is a reminder of how lucky we are in Canada. The Filipino people are lovely - friendly, polite, and positive. I have never been called "ma'am" so many times in my life! It has been a joy to work with them.
The eye examinations we do are fast and basic, but we strive to address their vision problems, as well as screen for cataracts, glaucoma, retinal diseases, and treat acute eye infections if noticed. Part of me looks forward to returning to my own clinic at home with its modern equipment and comforts (including climate control!) and part of me will miss the fast pace and "essentials only" nature of the clinic here. It continues to be a rewarding experience.
Dr. Lisa Scharf,
TWECS Team Member 
 Local children of Smokey Mountain in Tondo, Manila.

I arrived from Ottawa not knowing a soul, and I immediately acquainted with Jewel, another member of the team, from Victoria. Two strangers bonding together, and here we are after twelve days, 100% part of the team... working, laughing, some tears, and of course doing crazy things. All the members are so great,and we are getting along very easily.We are here for the same cause: helping the poorest of the poor.

Today, we went through about 500 patients. The sun was shining and everybody was  smiling, while they wait their turn. This morning, we had a 7 year old old boy who needed a -2.50... now he will be seeing at the board at school, he was glad. But we also gave glasses to a patient who was a -13.00... not too much left for this 16 year old girl, but just one pair was enough to see where she was walking... she was more than glad!

Claudelle Dionne,
TWECS Team Member

Encore aujourd'hui nous sommes a Smokey Mountain, ou la pauvreté est a son maximum, et en plus il y a cette senteur de poubelle et de dump....mais les gens on toujours leurs sourires et leurs patiences dans cette chaleur extrême ...Presque 500 patients a voir aujourd'hui, en plus il y a eu un orage vers 3 hres cette après-midi...on a dût faire vite pour se ramasser....

Demain,nous irons travailler dans un genre d'arena ou ont jouent du foot....mais c'est couvert et les côtés sont c'est moins pauvres qu'à Smokey, mais c'est une très grande pauvrete a comparer au Canada....nous sommes dans le Tier monde et c'est incroyable, inconcevable de voir des milliers de personnes vivre de cette façon....c'est toute une expérience à vivre, c'est gratifiant et triste en même temps,les gens sont tellement reconnaissant. Dire que nous vivons sur la même planète! Je suis contente de pouvoir contribuer à leurs apporter un peu de bonheur,et d'adoucir leur vie...aussi minime soit-il.

Claudelle Dionne d'Ottawa....19 novembre 2012
11 year old epileptic patient with +4.50 full time glasses

Elderly patient successfully fitted with glasses for distance vision by Jewel Knee, fellow team member.

After registration, patients distance visual actuities are tested with lots of motivation and positive energy from team members to obtain the best results.

Mid-day, one of the counsellors of Tondo visits the team to express her appreciation.
What a week in the Philippines with the TWECS eye glass project. Total registration this week were 2320 patients, and 2116 pairs of free glasses were dispensed, with 115 patients referred for cataract operations. To top this off, today I got to cater to the oldest (at 83 years old), and I also had the great pleasure of auto refracting the youngest, 9 month old Erica
                       Erica with +2.25 glasses (she                 Emelita with -16.00 glasses
                      also has a spare pair of glasses
                                to grow into)

Rodger Konkle,
TWECS Team Member

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