Over the past few days we have met some remarkable people, and have heard some incredible stories.
After visiting the school, we went with Jachin, our L.V. Prasad Eyewear Institute guide, on a house call to check on a patient. After traveling about 45 minutes out of the way on tiny dirt roads through terrifying traffic (which consisted of pedestrians, cyclists, livestock, rickshaws and cars), Jachin announced that we’d arrived.
We jumped out of the van and I glanced down this small dirt road to see a man with a walking stick. Jachin quickly filled us in. We were about to meet Venkataya, a 38 year-old man who recently went blind. LVPEI had assigned him a “Vision Guardian” to teach him how to be independent. His Vision Guardian was a very shy, young woman. Despite her mild temperament, you could tell she had a profound impact in Venkataya’s life. She was teaching him how to navigate his village, determine amounts of currency, but most of all she was giving him hope.
Jachin informed us that Venkataya’s wife took their two children and left him because he was no longer able to provide for them. We asked Jachin if Venkataya would ever “see” them again. Jachin said, “We must teach him a new trade so he can start earning. Once we do, I will find his wife and children and we will try to bring them back.” We know Jachin will deliver on his promise.
After spending some time with the man, we got back into the van to visit a secondary care center.
The building was nice, but what impressed us the most was the tenacity of the patients. We met one man who was recovering from a cataract surgery he had earlier that morning. A staff member translated for us. We learned that the man had a severe cataract that caused him to become blind in one eye nearly a year ago. He was unable to work in the field due to the vision loss. He had another cataract that affected the vision in his left eye. He expressed that he most looked forward to working again after he recovered from the surgery.
“I could manage if I lost a leg. Losing an eye is different. I need my eyes to work,” he said.
We met another woman with a severe cataract in her right eye. She was using the wall as her guide. She had no vision in her right eye and you could see the cataract developing in her left eye. The lady was scheduled to receive a cataract surgery that day. She was terribly nervous. We tried to speak with her.
The staff member asked her, “What do you look forward to seeing when your surgery is completed?”
“Anything,” she replied.
Her life was about to change. She was blind in that moment but fortunately, LVPEI would restore her vision in a matter of hours through cataract surgery, absolutely free of charge. Even her medications and post-op treatment and check-ups were free as well.
SOLO Eyewear is privileged to support such a great organization. Through LVPEI, we were able to fund 25 cataract surgeries for people in need.
Our next stop will be Aravind Eye Care System in Pondicherry where will be able to fund 67 additional cataract surgeries.
We owe every bit of this journey to you. Thank you for supporting us!