Thursday, November 26, 2015

Guatemala: San Miguel Dueñas: November 25 2015


Today is our fourth day in Guatemala and what a day it was. After our typical great coffee and breakfast start at Fernando's Cafe next door, we made a quick stop to pick up tables at Open Windows before we drove, it seemed straight up, on a pretty rough gravel road, to the village of Calderas

This is the day we do vision testing and providing of readers and sun glasses donated by our partner Clearly, to the residents of this mountain village of about 400 farming families. As we arrive at the community center at 9 a.m., there are about 40 people lined up outside waiting with anticipation of being able to read and sew again. Within minutes we are set up with an intake table, three vision testing tables and an inventory table - all according to the previous day's plan.

I am fortunate, because I speak a little Spanish, to be at the intake table where I will meet all of the recipients of the glasses.

From the very first lady to arrive at intake, it is abundantly clear that they're not here just because there is something free, but rather because their lives are severely hampered because they cannot see well enough to easily conduct daily tasks that most of us take for granted. Their ages range from 35 to 85, there is roughly an equal number of men and women and with the exception of a pastor and a handicraft worker, all are farmers or housewives. Typical of Mayan people, a few do not speak Spanish and have younger family members to translate for them, and then I have 18 year old Fransesca to assist with the Spanish conversation, so I can then complete the intake form in English.

Although I don't really know what is going on behind me at the vision-testing tables, I do know that lives are being improved. After most of the 50-plus who've come with the hope of being able to read or sew again have gone through to the testing tables, I watch the last few who are trying to either read, thread a needle or use testing hand signals to determine the strength of glasses required.

It's a moving experience to see the smiles when they've received glasses that will literally change their lives and I ponder what it would mean to me if I had been unable to read for many years and suddenly, a book or a magazine, or the ability to mend is again an option. A delightfully impactful experience.

We didn't have as many people come out for glasses as we had hoped, but two people from our partner Open Windows are fully capable of administering the reader and sunglasses program and have an inventory of several hundred pair that will make a great difference in the lives of another several hundred very poor Guatemalan recipients. I feel so much gratitude for our partners Open Windows Foundation and Clearly and, of course, all of the board of directors of DWC, that they continue to make such a difference in the lives of the worlds' less fortunate.

Wayne McRann (photos)
DWC board member
Wayne McRann (blog) 
DWC board treasurer
Guatemala: November 2015

No comments: