Thursday, February 25, 2010
Today was the last day of our clinic here in Jodhpur. The weather today was extremely hot and dry, we were all exhausted and tired, but kept a smile on our face. At the end of the day we packed the equipment, loaded the boxes onto the truck, and said goodbye to people who unknowingly will change our lives forever. I know each and every one of us had mixed emotions, it seems like it was forever ago that we all converged on the hotel in Delhi, meeting our team for the first time, and yet in the back of our mind we miss the comfort of our own homes and the smile of our loved ones. We leave the country of India with so many memories and experiences that it is hard to remember them all, thank goodness we have the photos and the journals to remind ourselves of this life changing experience. After all that was said and done, we helped 9,503 much deserving people in the surrounding villages of Jodhpur to the gift of sight. Everyone on this clinic has become family, and we will always have this common bond to unite our hearts and souls together, we are all brothers and sisters serving for one common goal. Tonight we had a dinner hosted by the employees of the Water Habitat Retreat where we are staying, we had traditonal Indian food and song and dance, the staff here have been trully a class act in making us fee right at home. Tomorrow we load the bus up and head to the small airfield in Jodhpur for our flight to Delhi, we have an 8-hour layover before heading to our respective homes. We are looking forward to some duty free shopping in Delhi and we are supposed to have an Italian feast at a restaurant in Delhi before the 15-hour flight back to the U.S.
And in closing, I would like to quote our Clinic Leader Leona Dockery, “May you sleep with angels” Take it as you will, it has great meaning. We can’t wait to see our loved ones in person, and the people of India in our dreams
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
One last post for the evening, this picture is of a reading from an auto refractor, this is the piece of equipment that helps the doctors to determine what the patient’s base line prescription is. For those of you who are unfamiliar with optics, the prescription on the screen was from a young 19 year old man who had never had glasses before. With this type of prescription you can only see to about the tip of your nose. Now can you imagine going through 19 years of your life only seeing that far? Neither can we, that is why we are so passionate about what we do with Onesight! Fortunately we were able to help this young man, and gave him glasses that will definitely show him his future.
Tonight we had our pinning ceremony. For those of you at home the pinning ceremony is a tradition with Onesight. What we do is we pull a name out of a hat of one of our team members, and we get a chance to show our gratitude and their contribution to the team and present them with a pin that that says Onesight India 2010. As you can imagine it is an emotional roller coaster, we laugh and we cry, but at the end we all feel like one big family. Dr. Michael Antoine got the privilege of pinning our Clinic Director Leona Dockery, Dr. Antoine gave his opening gratitude speech to the team in Italian, Spanish, German, Japanese, and Hindi, oh and I can’t forget he gave a shout out to the Canadians! Another highlight of the evening was when Dr. Pete Babcock got pinned by Dr. James Williams, just ask your friend or family member what that looked like when they got home, It was hysterical!
Today started out breakfast at 6:30 then group photos at 7:30. It is starting to sink in that we are in the home stretch of our mission. Clinic today ran extremely smooth, and by the end we saw 1200 people, It’s really hard to put into words the sheer desperation and poverty of these people, as we ride our bus from our retreat to the clinic site it has become almost normal to see people living in cardboard boxes along the road, people bathing from pitchers along the route, small children roaming alone looking for handouts, we know it is not normal, but that it is heartbreaking, yet somehow we stay focused hoping, praying that what we do with Onesight will somehow break the cycle and allow there to be a glimmer of hope in our recipients lives. When your friends and family members get home, listen to their stories, try to understand what they saw, because you could never ever imagine these experiences unless you have seen what they have seen through their eyes. It has been a journey that none of us will forget! We can go home with warmth in our hearts knowing that this team made a difference in so many lives.
Today Sally Thomasson from Atlanta Georgia, was working in dispense when she came across an older gentleman who required a –12.00 distance pair of glasses, as she fit his glasses, we got that same thankful expression of a smile from ear to ear as he could see clearly in the distance. It is sometimes hard for us not to take for granted the things that come to us so easily in the western world, but when you see people living in sheer poverty the need really hits home that these people truly are in need of the basics, and what is more wonderful than the gift of sight?
Day two of clinic was like a fine tuned machine, we got our groove going and set the pace for the next two days. The weather today was warm and sunny, but not as hot as the previous days, but still very dry. By the end of the day we saw another 1064 people! It is amazing how our young volunteers from the local village learn to help us so quickly. They know very little english to none at all, but by observing what we show them to do they do the work very eagerly!
Last night we had a fund raising event that we do on every clinic. It consists of a silent auction, a live auction, and a raffle. What a blast! Dr. James Williams played the part of the auctioneer and Dr. Pete Babcock was his caller. What a comedy team, they had us laughing so hard, that the majority of us could not catch our breath, and we had tears from laughing so hard. By the end of the auction our team raised an additional 3600.00 dollars! If anyone wants to donate to our clinic please go to the Onesight.org website and follow the prompts to our donation page, by doing so you will be able to help us, help others to the gift of sight.