Clinic Blog: 2011 South Africa 3 Clinic Blog
December 8, 2011
Fun Times in Mamelodi
What a week it’s been! Coming from Colorado with a 9 hour time difference was a bit challenging the first few days in clinic. Talk about hard work- I’ve never been so exhausted in my life (ok, maybe after having my first newborn). It’s been quite an emotional experience. I find myself in clinic many times working with a patient (especially the kids) and start to get tears in my eyes. I’ve seen so many patients who just accept that one or both of their eyes is blind and it’s wonderful to be able to tell them that they only need a surgery and then they will be able to see again (in the case of cataracts). I saw one patient who hasn’t had glasses in over ten years and was legally blind. We gave him a pair of glasses and restored his sight. He was thrilled…and so were we!
There are so many things we take for granted in our life. Being here has really made me appreciate the life I have. It’s also made me realize how important it is to give back. It doesn’t have to be as big as traveling half way around the world, but just donating to your favorite charity, donating your old glasses, giving a little of your time. A little can go a long way.
Last week we brought a box of clothing and basic necessities to each of the kids in a nearby orphanage. They were so excited! Just having something as a new shirt or a pair of slippers made their day. They were so cute, they all sang to us and brought us all to tears.
We had a great weekend. After a busy 4 days of clinic, we were all ready to relax a bit and have some fun. We went on a safari on Saturday- the highlight for me was having an enormous elephant come right up to our vehicle and hang with us for a bit. Sunday we got to pet baby lions and a cheetah at our hotel. The cheetah was so friendly! I couldn’t believe how similar their playful actions were to my own cats at home. Something I’ll probably never get a chance to do again.
I’d like to say hi to all my family, friends, and co-workers. Also, thank you to my husband Jed and his parents who are taking care of my two young children ages 4 and 6 so that I could be here to have this experience. I can’t wait to see you this weekend!
Monica Mortenson, O.D.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
It is with bittersweet feelings we are beginning our last day of clinic today. We will miss this beautiful country and its warm, loving people. We have so enjoyed our trips into the bush and being able to see all of the fascinating wild animals, but our strongest feelings remain with the grateful recipients of glasses and sunglasses. We carry back bountiful blessings by these wonderful people, and bring back lasting memories of their smiles. The team is bonding and preparing to say good-bye to the fantastic volunteers who have come faithfully each morning with hugs to start our day. We hope they enjoy the gifts we have brought for them as well as our team shirts. We see them wearing the shirts they cherish from the last mission here.
As we begin our journey home, we will all transition our thoughts once again to our loved ones whom we have missed and will be happy to see. But that also means we will leave behind our newest and dearest friends on the planet, our teammates. We appreciate all who have followed our journey on this blog and the comments and love you have sent us all. We will be home soon and will be very different people after experiencing the trip of a lifetime. Thank you OneSight for allowing us to represent the organization. We will be home soon! Love to all here and those waiting for us at home.
Dana Garvin, CSC
I have been on other missions and all missions are different and special in their own ways, but this one had many events that made it truly unique. We had the opportunity to visit and provide gifts for local orphans. We got to visit people in their homes who were under treatment for HIV, bringing them food, sunglasses and reading glasses. I got to do exams on a day care consisting of special needs children, most having cerebral palsy. Finally, it was Africa! Lions, tigers, elephants, giraffes, antelope, cheetahs, Oh My. The game drives on our time off were awesome.