Clinic Blog: 2011 India 3 Clinic Blog
October 20, 2011
Over 5,000 people get the gift of sight in Goa
In four clinic days over 5,000 people have been given the gift of sight. They come from villages on the outskirts of Goa and most come long distances to have their eyes examined. All day long people of all ages waited patiently as they went through the process. Monday's clinic started with an excited and loud team cheer. We moved to our assigned clinic positions and we were off and running. The first group came through almost shyly, not knowing what to expect but when they saw the doctors, they became more animated. At the dispensing stations, both Clinic member and patient were grinning ear to ear. One of our opticians, Stephanie, from Canada, bonded with an elderly lady in a beautiful teal sari.The lady's prescription was +9.00 mounted in a beautiful metal frame. The woman was laughing and clapping her hands. That is just one of the many stories that came out of our first clinic day.
Our second clinic day started like the first, with cheer led by one of our Italian team members, Paolo. We had an active day busltling with activity. Our recipients came from 3 different villages in the outlying area, with a lot of young children and older adults. The children were shy at first, but left with smiles and new eyeglasses on their faces. One of our team members, Amy, was working a the auto-refractioin station when a man came up to her and said he had no eye and held out his hand to show Amy his glass eye wrapped up in a napkin. She closed his hand around the eye, patted his hand and said, "that's okay we'll read the other eye".
Saturday was a busy day in many ways. First, we had a full clinic schedule. Second, Saturday night would be our Silent Auction night combined with dinner. We saw over 800 patients. Once again, our team was up to the occassion and made sure everyone was seen and happy when they left. After clinic was completed and put away for the day, it was time to celebrate our wins over the last few days and dinner was set up poolside at our hotel, Our entries for the auction were arranged in groups on tables surrounding our dining area. Bidding was fierce for all of the items and spirited rivalry for many items sent the bids even higher. We also had a live auction with Clinic Leader Steven acting as auctioneer. Even here bidding was exciting for each item. Prizes included a Prada necktie, an authentic Indian scarf, and Oakley luxury sunwear. The big prizes won were OneSight globe and stand and two baseball hats handpainted with the names of each clinic member handwritten in English on one hat and Sanskrit on the other. All in all, it was a marvelous day for Clinic Team members and the people we saw in clinic.
Sunday was originally an 'off day' for us, because of schedule changes, it was another clinic day.
After Sunday's clinic, we all went out for dinner at a seaside restaurant called Zeebop's By the Sea. It is truly a seaside restaurant because it is on the beach, with tables on the sand. Team members changed into swimwear and took advantage off the beautiful night and rolling waves of the Arabian Sea. Dinner was a fish dinner that was truly outstanding. There was also a surfside competition between some local boys and our Italian team members, including Dr.Cameron in a futbol match(soccer to the rest of us). Our Italian team came out on top.
Here is one of our Team Members, Claire Sjouerman, to send a "Shout Out":
Hello Friends, family and my colleagues in the UK! I'm missing you all so much.. I haven't had a good cup of tea in ages. Having the most amazing experience it is such an incredible feeling to see the smie on the face of someone who has not seen properly in years. Today I helped a lady who was -18 and had never worn glasses! She was so sweet... can't wait to show you the pictures. I feel so grateful for all I have and have been humbled by the kindness of those we have met on this amazing journey. India is amazing and I can't wait to see the Diwali celebrations tomorrow night. Wish you were here... love to you all.