TWECS PERU 2017
TWECS PERU 2017
GOODBYE FROM PERU.......
From all of us here in Peru thank you for your support of this incredible project. 4733 people from the poorer districts around Lima have received quality eye care and eyeglasses because you cared. Thank you to our financial donors and especially to our friends and family who provide funds to maintain equipment and supplies. Thank you to everyone who has spent time collecting eyeglasses and sending them to the warehouse in Burnaby this past year, with out that constant supply our eyeglass library cannot be as good as it is. Thank you to the warehouse volunteers who selflessly show up Monday nights throughout the year to sort and clean and recondition incoming glasses. Thank you to Burnaby Lougheed Lions Club for providing us with this facility to prepare our eyeglasses and for providing the much needed lighting. Thank you to the men of Fraser Pretrial Remand Centre in Port Coquitlam who have neutralized thousands of pairs of eyeglasses these past ten years. We were fortunate to have the help of grade 11 and 12 students from St. Thomas More Collegiate in Burnaby, these students impressed us with their enthusiasm and hard work. To the Team members who took time away from home and family this summer to travel to winter in Peru, you are the heart of this merry band determined to make a difference in someone’s life, bless you. You came together as strangers putting aside your differences, insecurities, aches and pains to help those less fortunate and have left as dear friends with memories to last a lifetime. Know that you made a difference.
Thank you Brother Casey for all your tireless efforts this past year to make this project a success for so many lives. You are an incredible humanitarian and you inspire us with your faith and commitment to serve and to be kind to everyone. Thank you too to Sisters Jacinta, Marie, Claire and Sheila for your patience and your help with crowd control and translation.
MEET THE T.E.A.M (Together Everyone Achieves Miracles)
Doug & Sharyn Higginson
Dr. Dana Blakolmer and daughter Zoe
Dr. Kiran Janda
Dr. Katherine McKay and daughter Delaney
Dr. Lili Liang
Dr. Roma-March & Derrick March
Dr. David Sakaki D.H.L
Dr. Annu Kaul (left )with son Ahren and sister Mona
FINAL DAY OF CLINIC
The Optometrists jumping for joy as they finish the last patient of the clinic and have cleared the small classroom that was crammed with patients.
Our final day of clinic, Day 9 back in San Lurigancho on the foothill slopes of the Andes to help the people of San Franisco district. An end of the road community mission run by two Irish Sisters. There is just enough altitude to get out of the high mist and cloud that covers Lima and the western slopes of the Andes this time of year.
Stacey, first off the bus and first to attack the registration line next to the road
Rodger and Derrick complete the setup of the dispensary in a small court, The altar from the sparcely furnished church next door doubles as a dispensing table for tools, thankfully the court is covered from the Andean sun.
Marina checking the eye health of an elder
Doug, Brenda and Sharon have no shade from the sun in distance visual acuities, eye charts are taped to the church wall and the single canopy we have gives cover for the testing patients
Thousands of eyeballs since day 1, David motors through with our Nikon Retinomax autorefactor. Tough job when you are taller than your patient.
Dr. Karin, writing out a prescription for this elderly lady in special testing.
Dr. Lili Liang flipping lenses to refine a script in special testing, garbage bags cover the windows to darken the room.
The grade 1 classroom gets converted into a special testing where the Optometrists find a spot and check patients…notice the size of the small wooden chairs
The line up grows as the morning progresses, Ahren helping out with registration near the back of the line. In the distance you can see the squatter shacks the poor build high on the steep slopes with their limited resources. Everyday they walk up and down for water and food, the luckiest have a job.
I CAN PUT A SMILE ON SOMEONE'S FACE
A cool story of my sister handing me my nephews old glasses to bring on the trip and we were able to find a young boy with a very similar prescription to fit perfectly into those glasses!! A child back home in Canada was able to change a boys life in Peru.
The stories are countless. The hugs and kisses never stopped as everyone was so appreciative and happy that we could turn their life around by a simple pair of glasses:)
Dr. Annu Kaul
YOU CAN'T CHOOSE WHERE YOU ARE BORN
This is my first mission trip. My rationale for coming on this mission was to give back , explore Peru and spend time with my sis and nephew. I was asked to write a blog on my experience… I have no idea where to start as I’ve not had time to process. Do I write about the T..W.E.C.S crew (aka family)… Their generosity for taking me in, their compassion for others , some of them are on their 8-9 mission, some bring their kids and expose them to the joy of giving, working, engaging being present even in rough conditions while being sick. Or should I talk about our bus trips back and forth to the clinics ( even after 10 – 12 hour days…each one is smiling or dancing, or reflecting on the day they just had) knowing they made a difference in someone’s life!
Should I write about the clinics …I take an hour taxi ride straight to the clinic after a red eye. As I step out of the taxi and there is a flood of people and line up way past the eye can see, I have yet to see a familiar face and there walks out my sis doing what she does best . Guiding people to their lines to ensure she does not miss a beat. I get introduced to David, Dana, Kiran, LiLi and then passed on to dispensing … what the heck is dispensing. I thought I was going to guide lines. I only learnt the equivalent words for line in Spanish. I get a quick brain dump by Rodger. And then I see Delaney while helping her patients she stops to answer my questions and then I’m greeted by Julie’s smile. It’s going to be ok. I get it into the swing of things trying to learn and then my nephew pops out of no where and gives me some tips. I’ve got this…. I help my first patient after two shadows with Rodger… she just kissed me to thank me..that she could see when she reads. The smile on her face and the kindness in her eyes, it gives you this energy this high that can’t be described . I’m too busy to spend time with her, I need to focus and move on to the next.
In life we constantly are tasked with making choices in every aspect . Despite the conditions in Lima for the people, the one consistent thought I’ve had through out this trip is, you can’t choose where you are born.
THE GIFT OF SIGHT
I decided to join the TWECS group and assist them on their mission trip this year to Peru, not knowing what to expect or who I was about to be spending the next 10 nights with in a small hostal in a completely foreign country. I must say, to my surprise, this is a trip that I will never forget and have made memories that will last with me for the rest of my life. It was an amazing and fun spirited group of people working together in unity for a common goal while having lots of fun in the process! For me, this will hopefully be one of many mission trips I wish to participate in throughout my life.
The greatest part about this journey is the fact that you experience the culture and are away from the safety and ease of our regular daily life. On our trips we had many stops throughout Lima in which we went to different areas and interacted first hand with all of the people and helped give them the gift of sight. It was truly heartbreaking to see some of the people and how they have been living their whole lives without being able to see five feet in front of them. I am so glad I got to be apart of an organization that helped those people start a new life with the gift of eyesight! The people we witnessed were determined, strong, and nothing short of spectacular all the way from waiting in line ups as long as three hours to caring children with them the whole way while also dealing with the annoying “english speakers”.
My favourite moment of the trip was when I gave a 84 year old lady who had never gotten her eyes checked in her whole life a new pair of glasses and she instantly began to cry. She cried tears of happiness and pure joy. She could finally see for the first time in decades. It was as if her whole life had changed. I think mine changed too. She told me I was an angel from heaven who had granted her wish and that she would pray to my name for the rest of her life. Moments like that are what this trip is all about and no amount of money will ever be able to grant you that experience. This trip for me was more then an amazing adventure, it was life changing.
THE EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME
When we first arrived at our first day of clinic I was nervous and anxious but before I knew it all those feelings went away when we were greeted by hugs and kisses as soon as we exited the bus. Hundreds of people lined up and are anxious to see the doctors and hopefully help make a difference in their vision.
One of my most meaning full experiences was simply playing and talking to all the children at the school. The kids were both entertaining and very hard to register because some of them were too young to know their numbers.
This was my very first mission trip with TWECS but for my mom or as others know her as Dr. Dana Blakolmer it was her third trip and I was lucky enough to be able to share the experience with her. Before I came on the trip I was nervous because I thought that I might not fit in, I was wrong everyone was friendly and very welcoming, I could not ask for a better group of volunteers. The hosts of the clinics we visted were also very comforting, they made us lunch almost everyday and on our second last day they made us a cake and thanked us with scarves and hats.