Nicaraguan Adventure // The Vet Team and Eye Clinic


In my last post, I shared an overview of our time in the village, but I don't feel like I actually talked about anything that happened in the village. This post is about specifically what Jordan and I spent our time doing, and if you don't read anything else, please know that I am collecting old/outdated prescription glasses to send to the people of Nicaragua. I'm trying to get the word out about donating so BMDMI has more options to offer the people who come to the eye clinic. Donating is as easy as mailing in your old glasses to an address in Mississippi. Email me if you have any pairs of glasses you don't want/need anymore, and I will get you the address.

Okay, so like I mentioned in my last post, we did get to choose which area we worked in during our time in the village. I chose the eye clinic because I am a -5.5 in each eye (if you don't know anything about prescriptions, -5.5 is pretty bad), and I wanted to help some people to see better! Jordan worked on the vet team because the leader of the vet team specifically asked Jordan to help out.

Eye Clinic

Basically what would happen each day at the start of the clinic is people would get registered and then start in the medical room with the actual doctors and nurses, who would talk (via a translator) to the people and ask them what they thought was wrong. Anyone who mentioned anything to do with eyes (burning sensation, seeing spots, blurry, red eyes, etc.) was referred to the eye clinic.

Everyone lined up outside the door, and one at a time we called them into the room to see if we could get them what they needed. Eric, the local optometrist who works full time for BMDMI, would sit the person in a chair and use an eye machine to read their prescription. The computer would then print out a list of all the prescription glasses we had (all labeled by number), and Eric would circle the numbers that were the closest to the person's actual prescription. It was rarely a perfect match. 

Below is a picture of the boxes of glasses. When we arrived in the village on Sunday, we put the shelves together and lined up all the boxes. These are all donated glasses and is where yours will go if you donate!
We would direct the person to sit in a chair by the wall while we looked for the numbers we needed, and then the person would try on the pairs and hopefully find one that worked! 

Here's Monica and I in our little eye room. This is pretty much what we did all day long.
Sometimes we couldn't find a pair that worked, and it was really sad. But it was AWESOME when we were able to fit someone with glasses! Seriously, it was the best to see someone's face light up when they were able to see more clearly. We also gave out a lot of reading glasses and sunglasses. In all, we saw over 500 people in the eye clinic over the 3.5 days.

^^^ This is a picture of what Monica and I called "The God Box." What happened is we ran out of reading glasses by the end of Monday, but we had this random box of reading glasses. We didn't know what prescription they were, but when someone came in who needed reading glasses, we decided to just grab the box and let them see if they could find a pair that worked.

I am not kidding you when I say that usually when we grabbed a random pair of glasses from this box, it worked on the first or second try! Only a few times were we unable to find someone a pair from the God box. By the time the last day of clinic rolled around, we had given away all but maybe four pairs from this box! It's hard for me to describe just how miraculous it was that so many of these pairs fit the people who came in, and I do not for one second think it was just coincidence.
There were many things that stuck out to me during my time in the eye clinic. Here are just a few. I'm writing them down so I don't forget:
  • The little boy who was blind in one eye and needed glasses to improve vision in his other eye. We had only 3 pairs in his prescription, and 2 of them were huge old man bifocals that didn't fit his face. The last pair were the cutest little glasses that fit perfectly and helped him see!
  • The blind woman who came in. She could barely see to find the chair to sit in and was being led by her 7-year-old daughter. She had 3 kids under the age of 7, and her husband was working far away and didn't come home very often. I helped her get rice and beans and clothes for her children, and we did find a pair of glasses that she said helped her to see a little better.
  • The old woman who said she wanted reading glasses so she could see to read La Biblia.
  • The old man with gray hair poking out underneath a weathered cowboy hat and a bright smile who, when I stood back and asked him if he could see better with the glasses on, said that I looked "bonita." (beautiful)
  • The twenty-something girl who we gave sunglasses to. The next day I saw her back at the clinic with a friend she'd brought. She stopped me and pointed to her sunglasses and said, "Sexy, no?" and smiled the biggest smile.
  • The sweet old lady we found reading glasses for. She clapped her hands, smiled, and then kissed my cheek.
What amazed me the most is how grateful the people were for the glasses, even though they were used, donated glasses, some of them old and scratched. We always feel like we need the best, the newest, the most expensive, and instead maybe we should spend more time being grateful for what we already have. 

The Vet Team
While I was in the eye clinic, Jordan worked on the vet team. He and the team left in Dr. Nicaragua's Toyota every day to drive out into the country and vaccinate the farmers' animals. They vaccinated pigs, dogs, horses, cattle, and sheep (and one goat!) for anthrax, B-12, and some other stuff. This is important work, because animals are these people's way to eat and live, and vaccinations keep them healthy.
While they were working with the animals, they also shared the gospel with the farmers. It was hard work, but Jordan had a blast working on the vet team. Every day around noon they came back for lunch, and it was fun to eat lunch together.

What I loved about this trip was being in the clinic and getting to meet all the people who came through. Since they had gone to church before coming to see us in the eye clinic, I tried to be very conscious of the fact that we were living representations of the gospel.

What would it say about God if the people went to church and heard about love and mercy, and then came to the clinic and we were mean to them? Our lives are a testimony just as much as our words, maybe even more. I always try to think of that, not just in Nicaragua.

So that's the end of the recap of the clinic! I have just one more post from Nicaragua, and it will be pictures from our free day on Friday when we got back from clinic. Here's a preview! Can you guess what we did?

Email me if you have glasses to donate! I'll get you the address.
Anyone else have prescription worse than -5.5?
shelleystirs said...

I wish I had glasses to donate! We just brought ours to our library in June.

Jenn @ Optimization Actually said...

My prescription is -5, so it's close! What a fantastic project. I think it's great that you not only want to help people, but you cared so much about them. Religious affiliations aside, I have a lot of respect for people who practice what they preach.

Kate said...

I'm +2.5 in one eye and +2.75 in the other. (which is a VAST improvement from when I was little.) Oh, and I have astigmatism in ONE eye. Baller.

The stories of people receiving their glasses made me tear up a little, but more than anything, it made me a little angry.
A month ago, I took Michael to the eye doctor so I could drive his little dilated self home. While I waited, I watched a little boy get his first pair of glasses. His dad was giving him pep talks about how great they looked and how to take special care of them. The little boy was having a hard time adjusting, but he obviously appreciated the praise from his dad.
His dad was asking tons of questions. One was, "So should he still wear these when he plays baseball? Or should he take them off?" The tech told him it would be BEST if he bought sport glasses because once he becomes accustomed to wearing glasses, he might get hurt if he doesn't wear them during baseball. The dad became obviously frustrated and said, "So you're saying he'll become dependent on his glasses?! This is ridiculous!"

Really? You're upset that you are able to help your child see better? You're upset that he might have to wear glasses to keep him safe during baseball?! He's in kindergarten, NOT the major leagues.
Then I read about these people who are so appreciative of USED glasses that aren't even the perfect prescription, and I just want to go and shake that man.

I think my last pair of glasses broke or went missing, buttttt if I find them, you better believe they're being donated.

Rebecca Jo said...

That is so awesome! Giving the gift of sight.
I need to look - I think if have old glasses laying around myself! Do you need prescription OR reading glasses? Both?

Andrea H. said...

I have loved reading about the mission trip! I have always wanted to go on one myself. And it is perfect timing that I am reading about this because I am in the process of moving and found some old glasses. Would love to have the address so that I can send them! Thanks for sharing about your trip!

Amy said...

WOW! over 500 in 3.5 days...that is incredible!
and the gratefulness they heart warming and encouraging/inspiring.
if only we were more grateful for the many privileges we have here in the states. it really puts things in perspective.

Kelsea said...

What an awesome opportunity to make a hands-on difference. My husband needs new glasses pretty badly so if he replaces them soon I'll send them! I've also got a pair that I've had since high school for "reading headaches" and I NEVER wear them. Would you mind giving me the address so I can send them on?

Caitlin said...

You all did so much good work while you were in Nicaragua! That is downright amazing + the families must feel so blessed from your help.

Jennifer Prod said...

oh my gosh, i can't imagine many things happier than helping someone see correctly - what a blessing!! i'll ask on if he has any extra/old/unused glasses that we could send ya! and.. let's see.. did you go ziplining?

Breenah A said...

Ooh, ooh, I do! I do! I'm a -7 in each eye, with a teeny astigmatism in the right one. Could you e-mail me the address? I'm sure I have some old glasses and my mom just got Lasik so I know she has some.

Breenah A said...

I used to sell glasses. The amount of people who don't understand that glasses are usually permanent and not like a band-aid are NUMEROUS.

Beka @ Sunshine to the Square Inch said...

This is so neat! I'm so glad you found glasses for so many people and those stories are something that I hope you won't ever forget!

I've never had problems with my eyes which I guess is a huge blessing that I never thought to be thankful for!

Kelly said...

This sounds like an amazing trip, how rewarding!

xx Kelly
Sparkles and Shoes

Rachel said...

So that's how they use donated glasses to help other people--I just donated my 3 or 4 old pairs right before we moved, but I was never really sure how the process worked when you use one person's glasses for someone else. That's really cool!

Allie @ Everyday Adventures said...

I wish I had old glasses to donate! The glasses I have currently haven't had the prescription updated in years, since I wear my contacts so much more often. (The prescription has changed a bit, but since I only wear 'em once every few months, why spend the $?.) But I'm fairly certain I donated my previous pair!

The Lady Okie said...

Awesome! I just emailed you!

The Lady Okie said...

Yay! I just emailed you :)

The Girl who Loved to Write said...

What an amazing experience. And what a gift to them!

Caroline @ In Due Time said...

Oh my gosh - all those boxes of glasses is incredible! So awesome - wow - y'all sure did have an impact on the community!!! So cool to read about!

Unknown said...

This is so cool! You have documented everything so well! I love how you remembered what some of the people said. "Sexy, no?" The best!

Kerry @ Till Then Smile Often said...

What a great experience. Sexy, No?! Too cute. I can't imagine being able to see their faces when they realized they could see clearer.

Jenna Griffin | Gold & Bloom said...

I love reading about your trip! Every last detail. I love that the people were so happy when you helped them find glasses perfect for them, and that they were still so gratefull even knowing they were used and maybe scratched. Such a beautiful image.. Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us, amanda!

Niken said...

it makes me really re-think about the things that i have. sometimes it's so easy for me to buy things just because i want it - though i don't need it. and there are things that are just there without even being used (or used just once or twice) while out there, our junk is someone else's treasure. thank you for sharing the story, Amanda

Anonymous said...

Amazing. This experience sounds absolutely awe-inspiring. Neither Kevin or I wear glasses but I'll keep my eye open for them at thrift stores, friend's houses, etc. and try to send some.


The Hungry Goat said...

Wow. This is absolutely amazing. What a cool thing the two of you did together. I wanna come next time!

Laura said...

These are beautiful stories!!! I love mission trips served as a family too. :)