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.
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?