The First Clinic Day

It was a good night’s rest that led me into the bright humid morning. Today was the first clinic day and I think we were ready. It wasn’t just an optical day but all medical disiplines would be working together in the same area Ticuentepe.
There was a nervous energy and excitement as we prepared to work. Sadly, it was pancakes for breakfast which is my most detested food but I was able to scrounge up peanut butter toast and fresh papaya and a cold coke so all was not lost.
We loaded up the vans with all the supplies and I noticed that the tool bag wasn’t around. I started hunting everywhere for it. Some were convinced that if we couldn’t find it, it must be in the van. I held strong that if you didn’t see it, it wasn’t there.
Finally just minutes before we had to leave, I located it slipped in behind a night stand and a wall, barely visible. It had fallen and was just out of view. So glad we discovered it before it was left behind.
Our drive into Ticuentepe was 45mins of various roads…

Settling In and Exploring

I can’t describe the level of noise of the birds in the trees around the compound. Nature needs to keep it down. At least there were a dozen roosters crowing but still.
It was hard to hear the 6:15am alarm buzzing us out of our slumber. The heaviness of the humidity did not make the morning feel refreshing. WE also realized that our shampoo and conditioner was in one of the missing bags. Oh well there was other soap. More concerning was the live wire that goes into the shower head for the pressure pump. Yes it is literally call the widow maker and it makes rubber flip flops an essential bath accessory.

I have forgone all hair dryers and flat irons for this trip. It wasn’t cultural smart for a white woman to do corn Row braids and I KNOW that there isn’t enough hair product to control the fine frizz that my crowning glory becomes in this weather so it’s time to embrace it and not fight it for 14 days. I hope that is the toughest thing I need to endure.

Breakfast was the Nicaraguan vers…

The Launch

It was going to be a long day of travelling. Packing and organizing from the night before, I didn’t sleep as much as I wanted the night before(which unfortunately seems to be a trend in my life right now)
The ferrets definitely new that something was up and we’re stocking me around the place. It’s always hard to leave them behind.
But I was ready to go on time at 9am when Mary was suppose to be at my place.....9:15, 9:30...Where was she?
A text said she was “close”. I was starting to panic, we had a lot to load and pack and needed to be at the airport by noon. Mary FINALLY arrived 45mins late which means that we were 1.5hrs behind by the time we got Felix loaded with all we were taking. It’s incredible what this little FIAT will carry if properly packed- 6 50lbs suitcases, 4 22lb carry on The ferret carrier and supplies. He was stuffed,

Our first stop was in Waterloo at my friend, Geoff and Karen. They again were caring for the ferrets and Geoff was taking us to the airport. I called …

All The Preparing and Support

It’s hard to believe that in just four days we are leaving. For the last 5 months, I have been calling, asking and collecting donations and supplies.

It started in the spring, working on my deck, sorting frames that would be taken to Paul Fabish and his team at Plastics Plus for lenses. Others were shipped to Corey and Chris and the team at CPS360 in London. They have done so much work to get us close to 1000 brand new pairs of glasses.

Donations from Ronor, Ronit Furst, Prism gave us a great selection to get started.
Packages from Rachel at Personal Optical in St Catherines and Deborah of Optika Electica in Saskatoon arrived
Mary and I spent several hours sorting and labeling as the completed glasses arrive. We even spent a beautiful Thanksgiving with Mary’s family chipping in as volunteer labour, learning more than they ever wanted to know about glasses, prescriptions and the work that goes into these projects.

 Even Toby, my pet fink, thought he could be "helpful"
In Sept…

Here We Go Again

It’s been just over a year since I returned from Malawi and in just 5 weeks I will be leaving again for Nicaragua and El Salvador. Team Licensed Optician is partnering with the medical team from PAN missions to provide eye care for villages that have never had this care before. Our team includes Mary K(student optician) and Mabel(intern optician) and 13 others including RNs.
Once again we have been blessed with support from the Optician Association of Canada and the Ontario Optician’s Association, Plastics Plus, Ronor, Personal Optical, Deborah from Optika Electik in Saskatoon, The Frame Barn, Ronit Furst,Prism Optical and Dr Wes McCann of Central and Upper Richmond Optometry and so many in the community and my friends.
We will be equipping a clinic and training staff so that the work and care will continue on after we leave.
It is, again, a big project but I am so grateful for the support of everyone, which is why it is appropriate for my first post to be on this THANKSGIVING DAY!