Clinic Blog: 2012 South Africa Clinic Blog
February 19, 2012
Most of our team members are back home again (many with 30+ hours of travel behind them), and adjusting to “normal life”. I am left with two impressions that keep replaying in my mind. The first is the question I was constantly asked by our Zulu patients – “Where are you from”? I assumed, at first, that it was obvious I am American, and that they were inquiring as to which state of the union I am from - but it didn’t take me long to realize that, indeed, the question was as to the country. This reveals my nationalism –that I find it curious that it was not obvious I am an American. What varying answers our Zulu friends must have received from our global OneSight team! The second impression is that of the wide-eyed patients who were rendered utterly speechless, which our Peace Corps friends explained was because they were not accustomed to being around white people and were both scared and overwhelmed. As a team, we OneSighters amazed ourselves in our ability to cross language and geographical lines to become one – to become love in action. It is dawning on me how much more wondrous our cohesive global unit must have been to those Zulus whose lives have experienced apartheid – a word whose literal translation is “apartness” – which was everyone we saw over the age of 8. I am so thankful for the oneness I felt with our team and Zulu friends…the ability to laugh and serve together without thought to color, race, language or geography, and it is my wish that OneSight touched lives not only with vision care services, but a with a vision of hope, togetherness, joy and oneness.
February 17, 2012
It is a bittersweet day – our last day of clinic. While friends, family and familiar comforts await us at home, we are acutely aware that we have few remaining hours in this welcoming country. It feels as if we just arrived and yet have been here forever, all at the same time. Our clinic was well positioned and we were quite busy. I have never seen so many oversized bifocals in one day –oh my! Two weeks takes a toll on inventory – fortunately we still met the needs of our patients, and our go-gos still felt beautiful and grateful in their super-sized specs. Tonight we will have a celebratory brai (BBQ) poolside at the hotel to honor our partners and volunteers, and tomorrow we begin the journey to our respective countries and homes. The unity we feel in our hearts, the incredible memories, and the gift of sight we have provided will carry on long we are gone, and to Luxottica and Onesight we say “siyabonga mgiyakutah nta” (thank you and we love you”)!
Kelly Aung (USA): When we arrived to our clinic, we were surprised to see so many locals out selling clothes, food, toys, etc. It turns out today is their pay day, and the site we are in is where locals come to collect. We were welcomed by music, vibrant colors and so much culture. It was wonderful to see so many people out there this morning, and it really pumped us up for the big day ahead. What a way to end this amazing mission!
Berrak Onal (Turkey-Izmir-KSK): Son gunumuz disarida inanilmaz bir kalabalik var bugun super gececek. Insanlar Pazar kurmuslar inanilmaz birgun. Son kez insanlari mutlu edecegiz tabi sadece bu klinik icin eylemlerimiz devam edecek… Bizi izlemeye devam edin
Anita Reed (USA Home Office): Today is the last day of clinic and pay day for people of the area. As we arrived we were astounded by the number of street vendors lining the way. Clothes, live animals, anything and everything a person could want were available once their government check was cashed. Our expectations for today is, BUSY, since the people are here, we expect them to take advantage of our services also. Our spirits are mixed today, excitement for the day we have ahead of us and sadness for the completion of our journey.
Marinella (Italy): Bene siamo all’ultimo giorno di clinica e mi dispiace un casino che questa bellissima avventura sia finita.Non siamo stati Fermi un minuto per le tante persone che continuano ad arrivare. E tutto bellissimo!Persone che vanno via con il sorriso e ti ringraziano 1000 volte perche’ ora ci vedono.Monica hai proprio ragione tu: Esiste il mal d’Africa!!! Ci vediamo in Italia!!! ONESIGHT grazie!
Bill Mullin (USA): I have dispensed thousands of glasses around the world over past twelve years and today I had a first. I was dispensing to a man who prayed before he put his glasses on. I took the glasses from him to make an adjustment and when I gave them back to him he prayed again before putting them on. I had him look at the VA chart and he let out a huge smile, so his prayers were answered! I have been struggling with whether to retire from International clinics for the last two years, and then a moment like that happens and I remember why I can’t stop doing this work! I love being able to help someone’s prayers come true.
February 15, 2012
We just finished our first day at the rural Makhasa clinic, which is a little over an hour from our hotel, across the vast expanse of South Africa. It is astonishing how far patients walk in order to receive this care. The themes of today’s blog are the depth of camaraderie amongst our team, the excitement of our patients, and our gratitude for the generous support of the donors who allow all of this to happen. I am typing this on our drive “home”, and only two (of 12 of us) are awake – fortunately the other one is our driver (who proudly got his eye exam and new OneSight glasses today, by the way)!
From Filippo Frati (Luxottica US, Wholesale – New York): at this point we have gone through six days of clinic and there are two more to go. Being here and having the possibility to change other people’s life is already very rewarding. However what fascinated me the most is the “chemistry” in our group. We are thirty people coming from many different countries, languages and cultures. Starting from day 1, without knowing each other, we all started “dancing the same dance, singing the same song, living the same life”. It is truly surprising how thirty people that work together and help each other can turn every challenge into an easy task. So what I will bring back at home with me is a clear awareness on how far a real team of people can go in accomplishing something as long as they are determined to do so. And I close with one confession… during our Saturday night’s party for sure we danced the same dance, sang the same song and also… drank the same beer (a lot of it)… ;)
From Ellie Reitmeyer (Optician, Lenscrafters Store 327, Wayzata, MN): My 13th International Clinic is almost in the books. There are so many stories I could share about the rides to clinic in the Quantum (a type of passenger van )where we saw giraffes, zebras, elephants, etc. in the mornings, or the wonderful group of people who make up the team. But what I will never forget is the smiles on the faces of the people we helped, the gogos dancing a jig in appreciation, the Peace Corps workers who sweated and laughed alongside us, and the babies. Oh, the babies!!! Our partners went out of their way to secure great sites, entertain us and help the people they will continue to serve after this clinic leaves. I am leaving this country loving the people, the wildlife, the food, the farm animals, and I look forward to the day when, God willing, I might be able to return and visit my South African friends and family.
Sending my love to Rex, my family, friends and customers who donated their glasses and money to OneSight. A special hello to Carla, Talita and Chantal in Capetown. (the nougat was marvelous and well-appreciated by the team). And hello also to my “play” friend Annette!
From Max (SGH 5541, Panama City Beach, Florida): Thank you so much to my team for taking such good care of the store and to all in Region #121 for all their support. Without you I would not have been on this amazing journey. We are almost at the end of our clinic time here in South Africa and I have many emotions. Every one of the team has had a “special” moment during our two weeks here. This is a beautiful country and the people are so appreciative and wonderful. From the babies to the Go Go’s we saw an immediate result of all the efforts of OneSight. Please….please continue to fundraise….to recycle…..to share the PASSION of OneSight!! It is so rewarding to know we have given a child, a mother, father or grandmother and grandfather the beautiful gift of sight. One of my favorite sayings is ….”My cup runneth over”- it sure has on this clinic. My heart is full…..an amazing leadership team in Scott, Odette, Julie, Steven and Tosh and Peter, and all of the super team….we clicked together so well and have had so much fun. I am deeply honored to be a part of South Africa 2012. As special thanks to Abby Houtman…..she rocks, everyone has shared so many stories on the blog thanks to her hard work.!!! Keep reading our blog and sharing…..we love you. Go OneSight!!!!!!!!
February 14, 2012
We are driving (through the Game Park – hello elephants!) from our second and final day at the Hlabisa Clinic, where we served 1090 appreciative patients. We have so much to share - as you can see from the following 12 comments, from representatives of 7 different countries! As for my day, Dr. Jackie patiently taught Roger and me how to dilate patients using eye drops and to use the handheld tonometer – I am grateful to our wise leaders for providing such learning opportunities. To give you an idea of the weather conditions here – it was so hot that we could not leave the dilation drops on the table (in the sun), for they would have become too hot for use. Feeling like a hot mess – but with a BIG SMILE! Without further ado, I give you the good stuff from our team…did I mention you may want to use Google Translate?! Please keep the comments coming, but please know that internet access is a challenge, and we may be unable to respond.
From Berrak Onal (Turkey): izmir - KSK Herkese merhaba…Ilk klinik deneyimim ve katilan ilk Turk benim. Cok sansli biriyim Bugun 10. Gun zamanin nasil gectigini anlamadim inanilmaz keyifli bir deneyim. Hergun yuzlerce insana yardim etmenin bana kendimi bu kadar iyi hissettirecegini tahmin edemezdim. Cok yorucu ama insanlarin yuzundeki gulumseme herseye deger. Birisi bana yurtdisina ciktiginda gidecegin ilk ulke Guney Afrika olacak dese kesinlikle inanmazdim inanilmaz guzellige sahip bir ulke ve hayatimda belki birdaha hic goremeyecegim hayvanlari gordum cook keyifli. Ayrica hint okyanusunu gordum ve yuzdum demek isterdim ama yuzemedim cunku inanilmaz dalgalar vardi cok tehlkeliydi. Ama yinede kiyida takildimTurkce bilen kimse yok ve benim ingilizcem cok yeterli degil ama gruptaki kimse bana bunu hissettirmedi ve yalniz birakmadi ,herkes cok sicakkanli ve her konuda birbirine yardimci oluyor. Bir anda bir suru arkadasim oldu Birazdan hastalar gelmeye baslayacak . Bebekler ve cocuklar inanilmazlar . Bu klinikte onlarla daha fazla vakit gecirme sansimiz oluyor. Bol bol fotograf cekiyorum. Insanlarin yuzune gozlukleri taktigimiz zaman yuzlerindeki ifadeyi gormenizi cok isterdim. Okuyabildikleri anda dunyanin en mutlu insani siz oluyorsunuz. Afrikali insanlar cok sicakkanlilar herkes bizi inanilmaz bir sevgi ile karsiliyor. Burda cok unluyuz
From Melanie (USA): Yesterday my Peace Corp volunteer and I had a wonderful lady come for her exam. She immediately told us we were her friend, and that she would make us bread and we would eat together until we would nearly explode, just because we were here for her. After her exam she was so happy, she wore her sunglasses for us and danced a little happy dance to show us how happy she was to get her new glasses and sunglasses. It has been a great clinic as the patients here really love to show appreciation in a way that just energizes the team! Thanks to all who support our OneSight missions.
From Marion (Germany): wir sind hier in the middle of nowhere, auf der Fahrt zur Klinik haben wir heute Affen, Elefanten, Zebras und Impalas gesehen. Es gab schon so viele beeindruckende und tolle Momente… Fuer die “Gogo’s” (aelter Damen) ist es das groesste, die Bibel wieder lesen zu koennen. Gestern habe ich mit einer uebergluecklichen Gogo ein Taenzchen gemacht, sie war fast nicht mehr zu stoppen :o) Auch die mitgebrachten Kleidungsstuecke fanden glueckliche Abnehmer. Mir wurde es im Vorfeld oft gesagt, und ich kann es nur bestaetigen: es ist ein unvergessliches Erlebnis! Thank you Luxottica, thank you OneSight.
From Bill Mullin (USA): Yesterday my good friend Ellie was working the dilation tent and made a little 4 year old boy cry by putting drops in his eyes. He was inconsolable, so I brought him a goody bag full of toys and candy which made him feel a little better. Later we herd crying at the scoping area and it turned out to be the same little boy. I brought over a cool pair of sun glasses which made him happy once again I think he even cracked a little smile. Awhile later I felt a tug on my shorts and looked down to see my little friend, He wanted to say goodbye which got me a little choked up. It’s moments like that which make the experience real and that’s why I keep doing missions, to keep having those great little moments. Also - I successfully wrangled a spider out of the clinic today! No spiders were injured in any way! For all those people that know me know how incredible that is!
From our Lead Doc, Dr. Tosh (USA): Hello from South Africa! Wow… what an incredible experience this has been so far! South Africa is a beautiful place with beautiful people. Yesterday, a patient with severe eye pain came through the clinic. She had been battling the pain and infection since December. With the support of the local Optometrists (Simphiwe and Lindy) we were able to refer the patient to the local hospital for proper treatment and care. Go OneSight!
From Jeanine (South Africa): One thing I have learnt from this trip is that a smile is universal! We have had many challenging language barriers, but the first sight of clear vision always starts with a smile! Today is Chabella day for me! (For those who do not know what Chabella’s are, it is a pair of “John Lennon” looking glasses which we make on site and dispense) This means I’ve had to dig deep for the math skills I’ve lost somewhere between primary school and now, but it has been EXTREMELY interesting and dispensing your first pair of Chabella’s is rewarding! A little Sunglass Hut joke: The Americans are calling the Gogo’s, Go-go’s as in Go-Go units. The Sunglass Hut OneSight bags have almost sold out, bringing the grand total raised for OneSight South Africa to **DRUM ROLL PLEASE*** R3350!!!!!
From Tim Webb (Pearle Vision -Greater Chicago/Milwaukee):
WHAT MAKES ME SMILE………..
+ The thumbs up of a Gogo, an older South African lady, who just received her reading glasses that will allow her to do her weaving and sewing which is so important to her.
+ When a young lady, or Sissy, smiles because she has just received some beautiful sunglasses that will protect her from the sun’s harmful UV rays as well as allow her to be fashionable in the village.
+ The random spontaneous dancing of the Italian OneSight clinic volunteers.
+ Little girls getting their first set of pink sunglasses.
+ The oohs and ahhs of the clinic volunteers followed by the clicking of shutters as a team of wild baboons cross the road in front of our bus.
+ The joy of a Peace Corps volunteer who just assisted in the delivery of a large and much needed prescription for someone who has done without for a long time.
+ And of course, the presentation of an ice cold Coke Light at the end of a long, fun and rewarding clinic day near Mtubatuba South Africa!
From Dalila Gout (France) : Un bonjour en passant vite fait depuis South Africa, les journnees sont tres emouvantes, extraordinaires, interessantes, ……je tremble de l`interieur Aujourd`hui, j`ai soignee une fille de 18 avec qui a un petit garcon de 8 ans. Dalila depuis, Mtubatuba
From Anita Reed (Home Office, Mason, Ohio): We are in our second week of this amazing experience. The African people are warm and smiling and so happy we are here. To watch someone put on glasses and then watching as the realization of seeing the world around them clearer or for the first time is breath taking. We are working nonstop but the need is great and our passion is greater. The team here is amazing. Working side by side in harmony as a well-oiled machine. This is one of the top things I will miss upon leaving. I have seen elephants, zebra, baboon and giraffe by the side of the road driving to our destination. The Silent Auction was a big hit bringing over $2,800 in donations to One Sight. Today, we will break down the clinic and move to a new location tomorrow. Have a great day, I know I am!!!!!
From Marinella (belluno Italia): Siamo alla seconda settimana di questa bellissima e indimenticabile esperienza. Abbiamo fatto gia’ tre cliniche e domani ci aspetta l’ultima . Ogni momento che trascorro con queste persone per me e’un momento di gioia nel vedere un sorriso o un abraccio ricevuto da persone che non vedro’ piu’ ma che resteranno sempre nei miei ricordi. Il team italiano (tutti alla prima esperienza) sta andando alla grandeSembra che abbiano fatto gia altre missioni veramente ma veramente bravi. Ringrazio ancora Onesightper avermi fatto questo bellissimo regalo e sopratutto ringrazio tutto il team. Sawuubona.
From Roger (Norway): I dag var jeg ute og gjorde eye drops med Abby. Det var den beste dagen hittils paa clinicen da vi virkelig fikk prove paa nye oppgaver. Arbeidsoppgaven bestod av aa droppe oyet med en veske for aa utvide pupillen saa vi igjen kan faa fram rett styrke. I 35 graders varme maa jeg si at det var en provelsen men som sagt kjempe morro. En lite notis som maa med er at Abby var livredd til begynne med men ble dronninga paa dette etterhvert, jeg hoppa I skrekk da jeg horte det rasla I grassa bak meg da jeg trodde det var en slange (jeg saa aldrig hva det var)!!
From Jacqueline Armani (New York): Sawabona!!! For all those that do not know Zulu, that means “we see you” and is also a greeting equivalent to hello. I really am working on my Zulu here; along with my Norweign, Italian, and French. The days are amazing with thousands of patients walking through, thousands of smiling faces, a few crying babies who really don’t like drops or lights, and a group of great people always willing to help. Not only have we grown together as a group here, but have learned from the Peace Corp to appreciate so many things we take for granted on a daily basis. Today, I had a mother holding her child, then puts on her -8.50 glasses for the first time ever, and say that this is the first time she has seen her 2 year old boy. It was definitely a moment of joy for all of us! On a funny note, a go-go came up to me to ask me if she looked good in her glasses. When I responded, “beautiful go-go”, she goes, “No, today I am ma. Not go-go. I am young!” Loving South Africa!!!!
February 13, 2012
We closed the week in Mtubatuba having served 3,866 grateful, happy South Africans. It is remarkable how efficiently we are operating, in both serving our patients as well as setting up and taking down clinic. We really are a busy little beehive (see the yellow shirts - it was only a matter of time before the bee analogy). We have detected detached retinas, diabetic retinopathy and AIDS related eye diseases and high numbers of glaucoma.
The old "gogos" (grandmothers) especially touch my heart. They are the most demonstrative in this somewhat reserved culture - I can't count the number hugs and praises such as "Now I can read my Bible!" or "You have made me a beautiful grandmother!" we have received. The beautiful babies and children certainly aren't lacking for attention with our group (Ellie is making me tell you that she is spending more time "squishing baby guts" than doing actual work - which if have been on clinic with Ellie, you will know what that means - and also that she never really stops working). While I was working the autorefractor, a group of school boys came through, and, as if on dare, the naughty, bolder ones would bashfully whisper "I love you!" as they passed by, causing a wave of giggles. So funny - kids will be kids in any culture!
Our off days provided much needed rest and recovery (we were dragging by Friday night!). We went on a game drive on Saturday, where we took in the vast expanse of South Africa and spotted elephants, giraffes, zebras...but no cats (sorry Scott!). Saturday night many team members experienced local culture and dance at the Bit by Bit, and Sunday there was choice of a Zulu village tour, shopping, beach walking (braver team members took a dip in the Indian Ocean) and a river tour (with hippos galore!). We ended the weekend with a silent auction fund-raiser amongst our team, where George, a veteran with 21 missions under his belt, (who claims he is "retiring" after this, although I, for one, don't believe he will be able to give this up!), outbid everyone for the coveted OneSight crystal.
We are en route for our third site, and just passed giraffe, zebra and buffalo literally on the side of the road - what a country! Wish us well as we embark on four more days of helping the world to see!
February 10, 2012
After taking on the role of blogger, I was warned by veterans it would likely involve late nights alone on the internet, because, after days that are so emotionally and physically demanding, people (understandably) have little left in them for contribuing to a blog. Well...I say...that those people don't know Team South Africa 2012!!! Tonight there were TWO computers going (both with queques, might I add!) to accommodate the following contributions from our energetic and passionate team members and the amazing events of our day! We are still working out the kinks with photos, but they will come soon! We begin with our beautiful Dalila, whose birthday it was today. Don't forget...you may want to check out Google Translate.
Sawo bona ( Bonjour ) la France,
Pour mes 28 ans, j’ ai la chance de vivre une aventure extraordinaire qui restera gravee dans mon Coeur toujours et pour toujours. Je vis des moments inoubliables, forts, indescriptiles, intense, tres emotionels……..Je tiens a remercier toutes les personnes qui m’apportent leurs soutiens. Vive la solidarite!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dalila, Gout
Mtubatuba 09 Febbraio 2012, le emozioni non si contano al primo giorno della seconda clinica!!! Oggi abbiamo avuto circa 1300 persone senza contare il sole ai bimbi che accompagnavano I genitori, abbiamo ricevuto milletrecento sorrisi e abbracci. In meno di due ore abbiamo allestito la clinica nella sala comune del centro di Mtubatuba, senza sosta, tutta la giornata, abbiamo avuto ogni istante il cuore riempito di gioia, per ogni sguardo stupito di chi dopo anni riesce finalmente a leggere una parola o a vedere in modo definito il viso di chi gli sta di fronte ( abbiamo dato un occhiale da -20 a un bambino!). Grandissima Marinella, punta di diamante nelle relazioni internazionali, subito integrata nel team e senza paura, in dialogo serrato con francesi, polacchi e americani; supelativo Alessandro definito chabella man; bravi Antonio e Marco, ottimi registratori di occhiali! La clinica e’ un momento speciale, unico e irripetibile. Non solo la clinica, ogni persona che ti trovi davanti, a cui “regali” il dono della vista e’ un momento a se’, e’ un’emozione, e’ un pezzo di cuore che si riempie di un motivo nuovo per sorridere, per essere felice ogni giorno, nonostante la fatica, le avversita’, nonostante tutto!!! Ciao dal Sud Africa, Marinella Alessandro Marco Finally, we have lift off!
Today started with a BIG BANG – 1282 PATIENTS!! We were eased into the first 2 days seeing 387 patients on day 1 and 803 on day 2. The South Africans on the team have kept the spirits high (almal dink ons is die “Coolste”)! The Ray-Ban CD is a great hit! JR & Locnville are the theme song to the “Fun Bus” to and from the clinics every day! The trip highlights: definitely been the great team! The heat! The yellow T’s (The infamous Marion cut), and not to forget that we see miracles happening around us all day. Today we dispensed a pair of +20 frames to a teenage boy, -10 to a 3 year old “Bambino”, it is amazing to be able to share sight with them. Love to the South African Sunglass Hut/Luxottica Family, our families and friends! Love Jeanine, Coenie & Jacky xx
Our morning began with the typical over-heated African summer sky. Our clinic was just pulling together and we were just beginning set up. The group was trading the usual pleasantries while waiting and sweating in the hot sun. Suddenly, I heard the low melodic singing of a group. The voice was that of a village….an African village. Coming from a large tent shaded from the sun was the joyful singing of the Zulu people waiting for their new glasses. Without notice and a surprise to me, I felt a tear escape the security of my sunglasses. Wow, what a feeling to be on a mission making a difference in a people’s life. - Tim Webb, St. Charles, IL
Hello Kathy at home office. Rest assured, I have delivered all your messages to the intended, which brought plenty of smiles and laughs. To the home office, we had our first big day today with 1,282 coming thru the door. We expect the same tomorrow. We are all tired but it is a comforting tired when we remember the lovely people dancing and singing when their glasses are dispensed… Can’t wait to get home….NOT!! I still have a lot of work to do…..Have a wonderful day… - Anita
From Antonio (Italy) - Quarto giorno di missione e primo giorno a Mtubatuba…arrivati in clinica alle 7.30 Am ci attendevo gia’ molte persone e l’impatto e’ stato fantastico (a fine giornata sono state accolte 1282 persone tra uomini, donne e bambini di ogni eta’). All’apertura della clinica alle 9.00 si e’ riversato all’interno della struttura un fiume di persone speranzose di tornare a casa con il loro paio di occhiali da vista o da sole. La prima parte della giornata l’ho dedicate alla consegna degli occhiali da vista, vedere queste persone farti sorrisi e abbracci immensi per averili dato la possibilta’ di poter proseguire la loro vista sapendo quello che hanno in torno e’ stata veramente un’esperienza fantastica che ti tocca il cuore. Il resto della giornata(fino alle 5.30 Pm) l’ho passato a consegnare occhiali da lettura e da sole e anche in questo caso le emozioni non si possono descrivere e non posso che ringraziare OneSight per la fantastica esperienza a cui mi ha dato la possibilita’ di far parte. Ultima nota e non di poco conto..tutto il team sta lavorando e vivendo questa esperienza come se si conoscesse da sempre con un’affiatamento che ha dell’incredibile..grazie veramente a tutti. Vi aggiornero’ nei prossimi ggiorni sull’evolversi delle giornate. Ciao a tutti. - Antonio
From Francesco - Ciao Team, ciao Dublin!!!
This is day 4 of my magic adventure in South Africa but the number I want to share with you is 1282…. This is the number of people we have helped today… it makes me feel just great!!
Our usual day starts at 7 am when we leave the hotel to go to the clinic (this morning I was late and almost missed the bus… so funnyJ) anyway….
When we arrive at the clinic there are already hundreds of people (I really mean HUNDREDS of them) waiting for us sitting under giants tents and when we arrived there this morning the welcomed us with a big applause, really touching!!!
During the day we rarely have the chance to sit and the temperature is usually over 30 degrees so it happens that you feel exhausted but as soon as you receive a smile from one of the patient or you think how long they have been waiting outside under the sun in order to see us, the tiredness disappears and a big smile appears on your face (at least it happens on mine).
After clinic, usually 6pm (please note we are 2 hours ahead of Dublin) as soon as we are back in the hotel, the whole team jumps in the swimming pool with a few beers each… this feels magic as well! See you soon guys, try not to work too hard! - F
February 8, 2012
Our first clinic day and location was a success, starting with a fly-over welcome, (the picture of our winged performer tells it all) and ending with tears of joy and gratitude. Our fearless leaders and already cohesive team navigated through unforeseen challenges, as we set up to provide care to Khula village. This is my first clinic, and by far the hardest part of the day is now adequately explaining the pure joy of putting a pair of glasses on a face full of anticipation….and watching the transformation (even harder than it was for this Midwest EyeMed sales girl to explain bifocals in Zulu!) A whole world is opened up to these patients, and it immediately shows in the light of their face. Wow. Choking back tears now as I write about it. Though many times I thought to myself that this work is not for the faint at heart, I humbly admit that I can’t imagine any eyes being more opened to new a view than those of my own today. You may notice from our entries today that we are quite a patchwork quilt from around the globe – check out Google Translate to keep up!– Abby
This from Ellie: We had an amazing first day. We had some issues with our Inventory Management System that had us selecting glasses “old school”. It was a great opportunity for me to teach some of our non-optical team members how to pick the proper prescription without using a computer! I haven’t NOT used computers for picking since the very early years when we did clinics, so it was fun to go hunting through the boxes to find that perfect pair! Our European team mates had to tolerate explanations from me about the process, but learned so quickly it was positively mind-blowing. The team is gelling beautifully and we are functioning at a level that is beyond expectation. I am so proud to be a member of this clinic team and it’s only the 1st day!
Now , a shout out to one of my customers back home. Barbara! I regret to inform you that the water doesn’t go counterclockwise. I’ve checked multiple times.
To my husband… Rex, thanks for being so supportive and letting me leave you 13 times since we’ve been married to “go save the world,” You don’t know how much I appreciate you. But I couldn’t do it without you.
To my store… Hope you’re making plan and missing me. Wish you could be here to experience this with me. Now go clean the breakroom.
This from Max: I am always so amazed at clinic how the team comes from all over the world, not knowing one another, and we simply blend and unite and become this amazing team whose goal is to give the gift of sight. This team is no exception….we just did what needed to be done and were always there to help one another out to make our first day of clinic such a success. Today was so specail, we overcame language barriers and slight hiccups and saw some wonderful people whose radiant smile was true evidence of the joy we have provided. I know I am blessed to have this honor to be a part of OneSight. We have a great team and our Docs ROCK!!! Our leadership team is truly a pleasure to work with. I want to say to SGH Region #121 keep sharing the passion of OneSight and thank you for all your support! To my team at Store #5541…you are awesome!!!! Big Hugs!!!!
This from Marion: Hallo aus Mtubatuba! Im Gegensatz zu Deutschland ist es hier heiss und extreme schwuel. Um den sicheren Hitzekollaps zu umgehen, habe ich die OneSight Shirts neu designed: Das enge Buendchen am Hals (siehe Trophae am Arm) habe ich abgeschnitten – und damit einen neuen Trend geschaffen. Hier sprechen alle vom Marion-Cut, ich musste ettliche Shirts entsprechend umgestalten…
“oooohh, I am feeling much better now” das waren die dankbaren Kommentare :o)
Das schoenste Erlebnis fur mich heute war eine aeltere Frau die von mir eine Lesebrille erhalten hat und so gluecklich war wieder lessen zu koennen, dass sie ihr Anmeldeformular von oben bis unten vorgelesen hat. Sie war nicht zu stoppen und strahlte ueber das ganze Gesicht!
Thank you OneSight!
This from Marco: Ciao a tutti da Mtubatuba. Prima vera giornata di clinica e che emozioni!!! I posti, I compagni di missione ma soprattutto le persone che incontri, una quantita’ di emozioni che sono difficili da spiegare. L’incontro piu’ “speciale” di oggi e’ stato quello con una bimba di forse un anno e mezzo, una pupetta meravigliosa che, forse perche’ l’unica piccina arrivata fino al picking ha raccolto I doni e le attenzioni di tutti noi. Le mie bambine, quando hanno saputo che partivo mi hanno preparato una borsa con dei peluche per I bambini del Sud Africa dicendomi di darglieli da parte loro, oggi l’ho fatto, ho dato un piccolo tigro a quella bimba e quando lo ha stretto forte a se e l’emozione e’ stata enorme.
Credo che ogni giorno ci riservera’ una sorpresa, un’emozione sempre piu’ grande, anche grazie allo splendido team di cui sono fiero di far parte.
February 6, 2012
From Maxine Putz: The members of Team South Africa 2012 are preparing to embark on the journey of a lifetime. We are headed to Mtubatuba, South Africa to participate in a OneSight clinic there. Our advance team is enroute to South Africa and we wish them safe travels. The rest of the team is busy packing, repacking, weighing suitcases and preparing for the long flight ahead tomorrow. How exciting to participate in such a rewarding program and give quality eye care to our neighbors around the world. We have team members from all over the world that will be meeting, some for the first time, on Sunday evening in Mtubatuba, South Africa. We hope you will share in our journey and send messages from home by following our blog. And so our journey begins….thank you for sharing in this exciting and memorable event in Mtubatuba, South Africa!
Hey from Peter from Albany, NY. It was an adventure just to get to our beautiful hotel with 17 hrs of flying from Washington DC and then a 3 hour layover in Johannesburg before our flight to Durban and then our 2 hour van ride to the Protea hotel, Umfolzi Village. I hope we can get some photos posted of how wonderful our setting is. Everything is so lush and green. Our team shared stories about each other with the Mpilohnle team and the Peace Corps volunteers before we had our tasty lunch with traditional South African food items like pap (porridge made from maize meal) with a wonderful spicy relish and also boerewors (farmers sausage). After lunch and moving and organizing clinic boxes we had a grocery store adventure to the local chain “Pick and Pay”. Now we get some free time to enjoy the pool area at the hotel. Exciting that we will have four clinic sites and we start site 1 tomorrow. Wish us good luck and many patients. J
This is Anita saying Sawubona, which is hello. After a one hour delay before our first plane even arrived, we started out the gate late and when we landed at Dulles they were already calling our name over the pager. We had our exercise by running to the next plane. This was our 17 hour flight. If you have never have been on a flight for this length of time, I can tell you it is an EXPERIENCE!!!!! I won’t say any more. Of course, our team is the best. We have met such lovely people from places such as Turkey, Poland, France, and Italy. I have a lot of pictures that will be downloaded. Judi, you will enjoy the picture of Dr. Tosh. He was gracious to pose with me. You will all see how we worked as a team when we were packing the trailer for tomorrow when we start our adventures. Words cannot express how much this experience means to me and all that I talk to… I have been invited to visit with my new friends from around the world. You don’t have to ask me twice…. Tracy, you know I am having a wonderful time for you also. NO Tarantulas here, Greg! Check back with the blog for further updates as there WILL BE plenty for us to share…
From Abby - Peter and Anita have captured the essence of our day so well...I just have to add that I thought 17 hours of sleeping, eating and reading on the plane was actually paradise (not kidding - South African Airlines knows customer service!)...until I met the people of Mtubatuba and took in the beauty of the farm today! What a wonderful day of laughter and warm welcomes. Never did I imagine I would be sitting in the shade of a baobab tree, talking politics and Xhosa and Zulu history with the locals. What a humbling day of learning and fun...I can't believe our journey is only beginning!