Clinic Blog: 2011 Ghana Clinic Blog
June 26, 2011
Our Team Ghana Lead Doctor:
Ghana is my 7th Global Clinic. It's been many years since I've been the Lead Doctor for a global clinic. A lot has changed since then! Luckily, I had a great team of doctors. We had 10 optometrists (including myself) from the US and Australia. What made this team unique washaving two optometry students on the team: Khrystopher Gates (just graduated from optometry school) and Jake Hayward(finished his 2nd year) both from College of Optometry at University of Missouri-St. Louis. On the second day of clinic, Khrys found out that he had passed all of his Board of Optometry exams!!! As for Jake, not only was he able to keep up with the doctors, he always maintained a positive attitude. I have no doubt both Khrys and Jake will be excellent optometrists! Most of the time a global clinic is short a doctor or two...not this one! We all worked well together and delivered the best vision care to over 9,000 recipients of Ghana!
The Doctor Team:
from left to right, front row: Sinyoung Jun (LensCrafters, GA), Joyce Medina (Lead Doctor, EYEEXAM of Ca.), Shraddha (Julie) Sharma(OPSM, Australia), Nishil Patel(OPSM, Australia), Amy Moussa(EYEEXAM of Ca)
from left to right, back row:Noha Shehata(LensCrafters,Tx), Khrystopher Gates(Optometry Studant/Graduate, Mo), Paula Warnick(Pearle Vision, Il), Carla Lindsay(Pearle Vision, Ga), Michael Kim(Sears Optical, AK), Jake Hayward (2nd yr. Optometry Student, MO),JUlie Blenker(Sears Optical, WI)
I had the privilege of working alongside the the incredible people that made up our Leadership Team. I was excited to have Melissa as a Clinic Director again. I was on the doctor team with her in Thailand last year. It was Tanya's first time as Clinic Coordinator for a global clinic and Allison's first time as IMS Captain. It's been a while since Andrea and I have been leaders for a global clinic as well. John was the Cool Cat that kept us safe at all times and he controlled the daily chaos at the gate during clinic. I cannot imagine not having someone like him at every global clinic! Luckily, we all got along from the get-go! we learned a lot from Harriette about leadership, communication and teamwork. Withour her and Melissa's guidance, we would not have succeeded as a Leadership Team. It also helped to have a great team that worked well together!
The Leadership Team:
Tanya Duczek (Clinic Coordinator, Canada), John Stewart (AP Advisor, NY), Melissa Standridge(Clinic DIrector, Al), Allison Kiser(IMS Leader,Tn), Joyce Medina(Doctor Leader, Ca), Harriette Harrington(Leadership Development Specialist, Ca) and not pictured: Andrea Speta(Clinic Coordinator, Austria)
June 26, 2011
Once again, it looks like I am spending more time dealing with the mechanics of this program than with the blog itself....so here goes....
One of the problems with writing a blog like this is that there are so many stories and impressions. It is so hard to choose those that made it to these pages. I chose this last one because it is near and dear to many of your hearts. This one is from Weny Uhls:
"I had the wonderful experience to dispense a pair of glasses that belonged to a dear friend and colleague that passed away in May. Julie Carmack would be so proud to see that her glasses made such a difference in the life of this beautiful lady. She was so excited to receive the glasses that she grabbed me and pulled me close for the picture!"
Last CSC quote:
"To do more for the world than the world does for you -that is sucess." Henry Ford
As our final good-byes were said, we reflected on the beauty that was our clinic. We had only a four hour clinic on Thursday as we needed to break everything down, pack up and get our Australian contigency out on an early flight. Our goal was 500 patients. We saw 1100 patients bringing our total to....drum roll, please.......9051 patients with 30 doctor referrals!!!!! Team Ghana rocks!
It is hard to believe that that our 8 day clinic is over! When I reflect on it, two words consistently come to mind (and I am more than sure that I have used them several times already!) Amazing and awesome. How very humbling and beautiful it was to be a part of this place even for just a short time... to be as accepted and welcomed as we were and how humbling and what an honour it was to be a part of this special group of dedicated, hardworking people. I know I am not alone in sayying, I left Ghana, a better,more enriched person than I entered it! Thank you to our host, Franklin Mensah, our OneSight Leadership Team: Melissa, Andrea, Tanya, Joyce, Allison, John and Harriette and to OneSight for enabling us to give the gift of sight!
As Barb says "The spirit of Africa! Upbeat, passionate and proud!!!!!"
June 23, 2011
Today was our last full day of clinic. Everything was running smoothly and before we knew it.....1370 served! So far.....almost 8000 and still a half day to go! There are many stories that still need to be told and many photos to be viewed. Due to internet connections and time, this blog will be completed after the clinic is over. we want our friends and family to get a better idea of the spirit of our clinic! Thursday, June 23rd is the day 8, the last day of clinic. Because we are traveling back the same day, I will not be able to write until later.
CSC quote of the day:
"In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us." Flora Edwards
June 22, 2011
Today at the dispense table, we found 2 pairs of glasses with notes inside. Both were from the same store. LensCrafters 765. They were dispensed to James Aforely and Mary Ibrahim. Both are very happy with their new eyeglasses! Thank you so much for your recycling efforts! Please keep sending them!
Chantal Van Straaten was at the auto refract station when she had a little girl come through with a very high distance prescription. After she left, Chantal felt compelled to see how she had fared. She peeked around the corner to dispense which was fairly far away. The little girl was just getting fitted with her new glasses. She looked up, spotted Chantal and began to wave!
Some of our other team mates and doctors had a different experience as they learned to "Walk the line" This is when several team members go outside to the people waiting to come in. They check to see that everyone in line has a ticket to come in. One of the team members said to me later that she was struck by the sense of urgency in the people. We are seeing that now as our time here is coming to an end. Another team mate has mused aloud that we know there has to be a last person.
CSC quote for the day:
"Go the extra mile. It's never crowded."
CSC...you have no idea how ironically fitting this quote is today! Our buses took a wrong turn last night leaving clinic. We went round an round (lot's of extra miles) only to be stuck in wall-to-wall traffic. It took us over an hour to make what should have been an 8 mile trip! What could have been a nightmare turned into a Beatles sing-a-long!
June 21, 2011
It's hard to believe that we have finished 5 days of clinic....seems like we just got here! Only 3 more days to go...:(
1370 people served today!!
Today as a man left my station, my volunteer asked me if I had noticed the sling he was wearing. He proceeded to tell me that this man had fallen while waiting for the clinic this morning. He was taken to the hospital, treated. Then he came back and got his eye exam and glasses!
We are all so busy during the day that we are not always cognisant of the others. That's why it so important for us to share our stories!
One of the stories shared was from team member, Bill Mullins. In fact I have 2 stories about him. A few days ago, there was a young girl with a very high prescription. No one was able to find something that a matched. Someone remembered that Bill had brought his wife's glasses. Perfect fit!
Bill is "indispensible" at our dispense table. Today, I had a beautiful young woman standing in front of, trying hard not to cry because the glasses we were able to pick were tremendous and heavy. When Bill saw them, he offered to "take care of it". And he did! He came back with a great pair of glasses! When she stood in front of me now, she did cry, but this time tears of joy! It's that kind of dedication that makes OneSight the quality program it is!
CSC Qute: "The happiest people I have known have been those who gave themselves no concern about their own souls, but did their uttermost to mitigate the miseries of others" Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Tonight we held our "Silent Auction" It was run by Barb Aspen and Tara Marlett. They did a great job with a great assortment of goodies and gifts donated by the team members, A lot of excitement was generated by tean=m member, Jimmy Hendriks (you can imagine!) as he did several live auctions. The big winner of the the day was a pair of limited edition, beaded Ray Ban glasses which fetched $370! $2778 was raised for our clinic!
June 19, 2011
To start I would like to apologise. I said that Friday was our biggest day yet, but I didn't say how many. 1303 patients served!!! Go Team Ghana!!!
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give" Winston Churchill
"Every action in our life touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity" Edwin Hubbel Chapin
Today to complete our cultural weekend, Franklin took us to the memorial museum for the First Ghanaian President, Kwame Nkrumah. We learned about his life, the books he wrote and what he stood for. In addition to it being his final resting place, there is an area filled with photographs, documents, furniture and other memorabilia (even his light blue Cadilac is still outside!) We saw many photograghs that chronicled his life and works. We visited his final resting place and the beautiful gardens surrounding it. In the garden is a Mango tree that was planted there by Nelson Mandela! There are many statues of President Nkrumah. One shows him pointing away. He has been quoted as saying "We face neither east nor west: we face forward".
From there, we went to an Accra open artisan's market. Wow! What an experience! Carvings, jewlery, clothing, cloths....anything you could ask for, beautifully, expertly created..Many of us were lucky enough not to just enjoy and purchase these beautiful products but to tlk with the people and visit the areas where they are making their ware. It was great.
We are ready and excited for day 5 of clinic!
June 18, 2011
We finished up our 1st week of clinic Friday. We finally found a shorter route that gets us to the clinic a half an hour earlier. People were still lined up and waiting when we got there. It was pouring on friday morning which proved to be challenge as much of the clinic is held outside. Our Ghanaian volunteers worked side by side with us to help move tables into tents, sweep water away, dry equipment and drop water from the top of the tents. This would be a great time to mention how wonderful our volunteers are. They are waiting for us every morning with smiles on their faces, ready to work. They are willing to learn, take on responsibility, translate and teach to us about their culture! The cooking students continue to make us beautiful and delicious lunches.
The story for today is about an experience team member Ellie Reitmeyer had yesterday at dispensing. She was about to dispense a pair of glasses to a gentleman when she noticed her handwriting on the bag. It was a pair she had recycled at her store! The glasses were a perfect fit! In conversation with him, Ellie found out that he had the same profession as her husband.Later, she saw a man with the same company logo on his shirt. When she asked if they knew eachother, he said it was his boss and that he had come back from the clinic talking about how good it was. Coincidence???
CSC quote of the day: "The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt."
On Friday night, we headed out to our "Soiree" with our wonderful host, Franklin with "Community Uplift". He took us to a beautiful seaside restaurant where we were treated to good food, music and dancing! We were welcomed warmly by Maj(Dr.)Mustapha Ahmed(Rtd)MP. A good time was had by all!
To continue our enrichment, Franklin took us to Cape Coast on Saturday to Elmina, a fortress that held captured slaves until they were sent on the boats to the "New World" It was quite a learning experience. From there we had lunch on the terrace of another lovely restaurant then headed back for our 3 hour ride back. This had been the first day out of Accra and it was interesting to see the differences and similarities along the way. Tomorrow, we will visit another museum and Monday....back to clinic!
Please keep in mind that we are still experiencing internet issue and you may not always see a blog. We are working on that!
June 17, 2011
Unfortunately, Internet connection isn't always reliable and we lost it before the entire blog was out.
Yesterday when team member, Chantal Van Straaten was dispensing glasses to a lovely woman named Sahadatsu, she found a note inside the glasses. It was from a recycling challenge in 2009! Ally LoSardo prepared those glasses! Thank you for helping us give the gift of sight to a woman with a very high prescription who had broken her glasses. We hope you are reading this and sharing in our excitement.
Dr. Michael Kim shared a story about a little boy who had a very high prescription and it was very difficult to find a match. Stephanie Vicars was up to the challenge. It wasn't easy but she did it and a little boy went home today able to see clearly!
There are so many heartwarming stories about people receiving their new glasses. There also so many other things going on at the clinic that our patients are thankful for like referrals for much needed surgery. Yesterday as I sat with Dr. Noah Shehata who was explaining to her patient how to care for her irritated eye, the woman and her sister began to shaking our hands, thanking Dr. Noah, saying that no one had taken the time before to explain something to her.
Today's CSC quote:
"Many small people, in many small places, do many small things, that can alter the face of the world" Anonymous
We want to thank all of you for reading our stories and to those of you who comment, an extra thank you! We love coming back to the hotel after a long day at clinic and seeing who left us a message!
June 16, 2011
......so little time!
Yesterday's quote from CSC:
"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does."
I am sure our team would agree that one of the most rewarding parts of our clinic is in getting to know the beautiful people here. It struck me today that they are as lovely as some of their names: Peace, Comfort, Blessing, Patience, Prince and Princess to name a few!
June 14, 2011
Today was our first full day of clinic and it was full of emotion. When we arrived at our clinic site there were people lined up outside waiting to see us. As we entered, they greeted us and shook our hands. Once inside, we found our wonderful volunteers from "Community Uplift"! We went directly to our stations and began the day! Clinic like these are made possible by your generous monetary donations, time and used eyewear. Most of us don't get to see who receives our eyewear but once in a while something special happens and this is a special story that I would like to share from our team member Stephanie Vicars:
One and a half years ago, I lost my dear friend, Sherry Simmons. She was a very unique and special person. 3 years ago, her house caught fire and she and her husband lost everything. I was able to make each of them glasses by obtaining them OneSight vouchers. Unfortunately, Sherry suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning due to the fire and passed away one and a half years later.
I asked Sher's husband if I could take those glasses with me to Ghana. I thought it would be a way to grieve her as well as keep her memory alive. He agreed. Today, I was called over by Dr. Julie Blenker. She had found a match for Sherry's glasses. I never expected them to find someone that soon! When I walked over to dispense them I was greeted by a lovely young woman. Sher had always loved roses. She knew all their names and even called her daughter Rose. The woman who received her classes was named Rose!
It tickles me to think of Sherry seeing this lovely Ghanaian woman wearing her pink eyeglasses! Thank you OneSight for giving me the opportunity to share the gift of sight!
June 14, 2011
It's hard to believe that after 6 months of talking about and planning this clinic, we are here in beautiful Ghana. This morning, we left early for our clinic site for a short orientation and final setting up. Our first patients were to arrive at noon! What an interesting(and bumpy) bus ride! We were able to see a good amount of Accra, which we are all anxious to see more of. When we finally arrived at The Culinary School, we could hear the sound of drums. What a beautiful surprise to have many of the local people there to greet us with music and dance! A very uplifting way to start our day! At noon, after enjoying a lovely meal prepared and served by students of the culinary school, we opened our doors to more than 300 people. Many of us were just learning as we went alongside of our experienced team members, performing duties including registration, exams and the ardous task of matching prescriptions to each individual from a catalog of more than 17,000 donated eye glasses! In the end we examined and dispensed eyeglasses, sunglasses and readers to 347 patients, along with many smiles, hugs and other goodies! We took care of patients starting at age 3 up to 75 year o;d sisters! Our teammate Talita Van Wick was so touched as she placed the glasses on these 2 beautiful Ghanaian women's faces and they cried because they could see clearly for the 1st time. We knew we were on the right track for doing what OneSight does best.....Giving the Gift of Sight!
I would like to thank the Assignment Team at the CSC, Mason, OH for providing Wendy Uhls with the gift of "a Quote a Day". I will also be sharing these with you. Today's was truly appropriate:
"Every day you have the opportunity to learn and experience something and someone new. Seize the opportunity. Learn and experience everything you can, and use it to change the world" Rodney Williams.
June 13, 2011
.....safe and sound! We're still waiting on a few more to get here from Europe. We wish them a safe journey. Tomorrow....our first day of Clinic! Thanks to our leadership team for setting it up and getting it ready ! Go team Ghana!
June 12, 2011
It is with great anticipation that we all get ready for our initial journey to JFK and then off as a group to Ghana! This is probably the last entry until we arrive in Ghana tomorrow. Please keep following us....the rest is yet to come!
June 11, 2011
Our Clinic leaders have safely arrived in Ghana and will begin setting up. The rest of the team members will be arriving from North America, Australia and Italy on Monday. You can imagine the flurry of excitement right about now! Keep watching here for updates!
June 9, 2011
If you are interested in virtual participation in our upcomin OneSight Clinic to Ghana, you've landed on the right blog! Our team of 44 volunteers and doctors will spend 2 weeks just outside of Accra providing complete eye exams and eyewear to thousands of people who could not otherwise afford to see the world clearly.
Each day, right here on this page, we will be posting highlights from our vision care Clinic including stories of our recipients, the team experience and a little about Ghana itself. We land in Accra in June 12th and will be posting messages and photograghs trough June 23rd. Please be sure to log in everyday so you don't miss a minute of the excitement! And, if you are interested, our team is also raising money to help fund our Clinic. Make your donation today! www.onesight.org
Here's a little background about OneSight and our Global Clinics: OneSight is a family of charitable programs dedicated to improving vision through outreach, research and education.Sponsored by Luxottica, OneSight programs have helped more than 7 million people over it's 20 year history.
Each year, OneSight conducts two-week clinics where our doctors and trained volunteers provide free eye exams and eyewear to thousands of people in need. To date,we've run nearly 200 clinics in 37 different countries. This year, we have 15 clinics planned around the world. For a complete list of Clinic locationd, visit www.onesight.org.
About the Clinic
2011 Ghana Clinic Blog Clinic
A team of doctors and trained volunteers from around the world will provide primary eye care and eyewear to those in need.