Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Day 13 - Second last clinic day

Dispensary at Santa Mesa clinic
We arrive every morning at about 8 o’clock. There they are, patiently waiting our arrival; The beautiful, gentle people of the Philippines. When they see us they break out in smiles and greet us. They have already lined up and wait for us to take down their names and other information. The volunteer interpreters help make it all go smoothly and off they go with form in hand to the next station. They will probably be there for at least five to six hours, in this incredible heat but we do not hear any complaints! I am humbled by their incredible, hopeful spirit in such squalor. They’re so fast to laugh at my silly jokes and as I try to make them feel comfortable in such tight quarters.
At the end of the day most will go away with glasses that will help them in their daily living. I feel that we have made a difference and that gives me the energy to be excited about the next day to see what other miracles are waiting!
Linda Dawson,
TWECS Team Member

A young girl's first pair of glasses which were prescribed to be -8.00. The transformation from a frown to a smile and tight hug is always the best sign of appreciation.
Hi everyone,

Today was our second day at Santa Mesa and our second last clinic day of the mission. I am having mixed feelings about nearing the end of the mission. I know we are all getting tired from the long days, but it will also be sad to see the end of the mission as there are still many local people who desperately need eyecare services. I have been impressed about how friendly and hospitable the Filipino people are. Every day we see people line up for hours in the heat and they wait patiently, while back home patients often get angry with a short 15-30 minute wait for their eye exam. 

It is sad to see so many people who have struggled for years with poor vision due to uncorrected refractive error and treatable diseases. I am thankful that I have been given the opportunity to help give sight back to some of these people. I have seen several patients over the last 9 days with refractive errors between -12.00 and -16.00 diopters. For comparison, an uncorrected refractive error of approximately -2.50 to -3.00 diopters is sufficient for someone to be "legally blind" by Canadian definition.

One thing about the Philippines that I have found interesting are the extremes. There is extreme poverty only a block or two from 5 star hotels and highrise condominiums. There is beauty next to desolation. But one thing that is constant is that the people are very friendly everywhere we go. I look forward to coming back again in the future.

Thanks for reading,
Michael Langenberger

Basketballs donated by TWECS team members to local Barangay office, as this sport was commonly played in the area.

The initial testing of distant visual acuities by a volunteer (left) and his finalized prescription and fitted glasses (right).

Dr. Lisa Scharf and volunteers: 500 patients could not be examined in 7 hours if it weren't for the help of our many volunteers!

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