Sunday, March 21, 2010

Giving Sight to the Blind

The hot season is here. You know how I know? When I drink a glass of water i immediately start sweating. Your body sweats continuously so that you don't know you are dehydrated until you drink something and water immediately comes out of your pores. How else do I know? While sitting in a room around 10 am I can feel beads of sweat drip down my back, even my legs...thats gross. How about at 10 pm its still topping 95 degrees Farenheidt. Thats hott my friends. But with the hot season, the bugs die, the mosquitos disappear, you sleep under the stars at night, and enjoy the breeze produced from your plastic woven flag you continuously beat against your face hoping for a miraculous breath of cool air instead of just pushing around the already hot o2 molecules. But I'm in Africa (where most people think its pretty hot) and thats the way it is.

This last week I went down to Kedougou (SE corner of Senegal about 230km from Tambacounda) to help with an Eye Clinic. A team of doctors from the Jersey Shore (no not in the TV show I hear so much about over here) have come the past three years to do cataract surgeries, (giving back people their site after taking out the cataract and replacing the spot with a lens) other random procedures like turning eyelashes righside out, and giving out prescription glasses. I helped last year, absolutely loved it, and wanted to return again. The reason PC volunteers are needed is because the team of doctors speak english, a wee bit of french, but no local village language. On the flip side, villagers speak only their local language and maybe un peu de francais quoi. So we PC Volunteers come, get thrown into the chaos of it all, and try to make ourselves understood. It is a bit stressful (stress induced cold sore on mouth for proof) but its so rewarding and really wonderful when you meet a person go through their history, walk with them through a pre-operating talk, go into surgery and watch the doctor perform the procedure, talk with them and their family post-operation, and see that they have gone from being blind to seeing.

Now thats a best case scenario and there were times it didn't turn out as happily. Many people came with diseases or trauma to the eye the doctor couldn't help and we had to relay that to them in a language where you have to be creative trying to explain complicated medical terms. It's scary going in telling someone they will never see again. The people here, however, readily accept reality and move on with their lives. If that is what God has willed for them so be it, they have lived with it for many years and can live with it for many more. They have this ability to be ok despite the hope they might have had for sight.

A huge thanks to the doctors who paid to come over here and are giving their time and their work for no cost for these people. Its a wonderful thing to be a part of and a highly stressful environment they willingly inflict upon themselves! I am really glad i had the opportunity to be a part of it. It is something that has made a lasting impact on the peoples lives as well as the PC volunteers who have helped.

Finally please please keep your sights set on building this school for my family and friends in maleme Niani. We have raised $2,000 so far with about $8,500 left to go!!! Its quite a bit but with your help we can do it. Please tell your church, friends, family, business, work associates, people you meet on the street, club members, work out partners, everyone you can think of about this! A big shout out to the students and faculty who are at the school my mom works in! They have decided to take on this effort with a fundraising adtivity - selling bracelets made in Senegal! Thank you guys so much and please keep up the good work! I appreciate your time and efforts but more importantly this school will exist inchallah (God Willing) only if the money comes in! Let me know if you have any ideas or questions to get these funds here!

Happy Spring!!



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