Thursday, March 10, 2016

A Small Dose of Hope

Line up in Registration in Tarkeshwor

Nepal 2016 is my third project with TWECS and although each one has been uniquely difficult and challenging, the  rewards of participating seemingly grow exponentially with each one. 

I should preface this by stating that I am not an Optometrist, or optician, and have no connections to that industry other than the close friendships and bonds I have forged with other project participants. I am not alone in this regard. There are always a few of us on each team, and while we don't treat the patients directly, we are still touched by their hardships, and want to follow their progress as they make their way through the clinic. 

As someone who suffers from high myopia, I know first-hand how difficult it is to function without proper vision, but it is impossible to fathom a lifetime without vision, living in abject poverty and hardship. 

In addition to prescribing glasses, the doctors I am privileged to work with also prescribe a small dose of hope. Maybe the glasses we dispense will allow a man a chance to work again, or a child to see the blackboard clearly for the first time, or a woman to earn some extra money sewing, or an elder to see the smiles of their grandchildren. 

Not everyone sees vision improvement, and there are always heartbreaking cases that we simply cannot do anything for, like the tiny 4-month-old infant we saw yesterday who had yet to open her eyes. 

But Marina and Derrick have built something small over the past 20 years that has managed to give that hope and make a difference to tens of thousands of patients. I have no doubt that when we leave Nepal in few days we will have touched several thousand more.

By Damon Rand

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