Eyeglass Assist

Solomon Islands Project


Title:  The Big Decision

Location : Matuku Island, Fiji

Year : 2014

During the time that we circumnavigated Matuku Island in Fiji we had many good stories. After we had finished our program at a Natokalau village on the north west corner of the island, where we had fitted spectacles to 22 people in the community hall, a young man came up to us and told about how happy his mother was and he told us her story.

She had been one of the people who had come to the hall in the hope of obtaining glasses which we had been able to do. Then he told us she had been having trouble seeing for some time and had decided that she needed to do something about it. The only income many of the islanders have is through the production of copra (collecting and drying the flesh of coconuts for the making of coconut oil), which she had done and had saved enough money to catch the ferry over to Suva, 100 miles to the north west. In Suva she made an appointment and saw an optometrist there who tested her vision and determined and told her that yes she did need spectacles and so she was shown the choice of spectacles frames that were available for her to purchase.

 The problem she then realized was that the cost of the spectacles was such that she would be able to afford them, just, however, if she did buy them then she would not have enough money to catch the ferry back to her island home. A very difficult dilemma for her indeed. She had gone to a lot of trouble and expense to resolve her sight issue and so it was not an easy decision. Reluctantly she came to the realization that she had no choice but to return to Matuku and continue on as before without glasses and without being able to see very well. A few months after her return to the island we arrived, out of the blue, and, without any cost at all, provided her with a suitable pair of spectacles. She was a very happy person.

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