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 Eyeglass Assist

Solomon Islands Project

2018

Title: The Brave Young Man


Location : Magdelaina village, Magdelaina Bay, Pacific Coast, Baja Peninsula, Mexico


Year : 2016


A small village of around 200 people, mostly fishermen and their families. We received an official visit from the "port captain" of the nearest town who told us (after we fitted him with spectacles) that he didn't think there was anybody in the village who needed glasses which came a bit of a surprise to us. The village itself had seen more affluent days and some of the homes had been abandoned but there still appeared to be quite a few inhabitants there. What often happens, all around the world really, is that when industries die or economic circumstances change, the population slowly relocates. Often the people who are last to move, if at all are the elderly people who have lived there, often their whole lives, and are extremely reluctant to move anywhere.

 More or less ignoring what the port captain told us we went ashore and ended up fitting spectacles to 26 people. And not just elderly people either, there were quite a few people in the 40 to 50 year age range who also lived there.

 After being told by the last of the recipients that there was no-one else there who needed glasses we made our way back to the dingy. On the way back a young lad about 12 years old followed us and stood near us while we made preparations to launch the dingy. We thought we was just curious but then he said (in Spanish) that he thought he needed reading glasses. I quizzed him a little further in Spanish about what he thought the problem was and it seemed that he may well need glasses. I told him that we would go back to his house and speak to his mother and discuss his situation which we did. It turned out that his mother had earlier received glasses from us but for some reason had not mentioned her son or his problem. Is it possible that she didn't know? So, with her present, we sat down with her son and tested his ability to read and it turned out the needed a pair of mid to low strength reading glasses, without them he would have been incapable for reading the print of the majority of books.

 We were impressed by the boy's intelligence and confidence in recognizing that we may be able help solve a problem for him for which no other solution was available and being brave enough to speak to two gringos, something he most likely would not have done before.


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