Eyeglass Assist

Solomon Islands Project


Title: Lucky Fiji Day

Location : Fiji

Year : 2017


We conducted a fast and furious early morning clinic at a small village on the northern end of Waya Island. With the help of our friends on Kapai, Eudora and Interlude we fitted over forty glasses in two hours . Today was Fiji Day and on the outer islands the celebrations are held at the boarding schools. We decided to attend Waya Island's celebrations so we raised anchors and sailed two hours to reach the school complex. This was a good opportunity for Eyeglass Assist to reach many people from isolated villages who would also be in attendance.

On arrival we loaded the glasses into the dinghy, motored ashore, and set up again, this time on a raised platform under a shady tree by the beach. The news that Eyeglass Assist were coming had reached here before we did so many people were waiting. Once again our team did a wonderful job with over 100 happy Fijian's now with better vision.

One memorable recipient was a lovely school teacher. She told me at the age of eight her parents realised she had a serious problem with her vision, she required glasses and at great cost her family purchased them. The glasses she now had were old and she was aware that without glasses it would be impossible for her to lead a normal life, she worried how she would afford a new pair if they broke.  She said "my glasses are -9, I can't do without them and they are ridiculously expensive". I told her we are into our tenth year of holding our Eyeglass Assist clinics in 13 different countries and have provided close to 8,000 pair of glasses and her strength would be in the top three we had ever encountered.

She said "Gee, the top three!",

I said "No, probably the top two"

She said "Wow, the top two!"

I said "No, actually when I stop and think about it, you have the highest prescription we've come across".

She said "That is probably why people are amazed when I tell them my number.... " l too was amazed, a negative 9.

I started checking through our bags and found we had two pairs very close to her prescription and also our last pair of "fit over" sunglasses fitted them perfectly. It was her lucky day. I asked how her close vision was and she said unless she held the book very, very close she could not see at all (around 10cm or 4in.). She had never owned corrective reading gIasses. We started with a -3.50 that were an improvement but still not clear. We worked our way up to -5.25 at which point she was holding the book at the normal reading distance and seeing it clearly. Also when she looked up wearing these glasses she could see clearly for some distance. She was absolutely thrilled. She gave me a big hug and said the difference they would make would be unbelievable - "In the classroom I will be able to see the students and also see their writings without struggling, I am so happy I could cry".

I can't imagine the hardship she endured every day in the classroom. This is why we do what we do - to be able to make a positive difference to someone's life and for no other reason than we can.

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