Earlier this year in March Michael Walach and son Louis Walach of Go Smart Eyewear volunteered to join Steve Stern’s Sight is a Right first exploratory mission to Tumbes, Peru. We feel it is part of our professional responsibility to give back to the less fortunate. As a result, we set out on this mission with no idea what to expect. A total of 28 eye care professionals, nurses and other volunteers joined forces in the city of Zorittos, Tumbes, near the Peruvian and Ecuadorian border.
We were very warmly welcomed by the Mayor of the city, the governor, representatives of the ministry of internal affairs and locals from the community. Although we were allowed to use their huge local 300 seat auditorium, we did not expect there to be no air conditioning. With the outside temperature of 90 degrees and 200 hundred people in the auditorium that put us in pretty challenging and intense work conditions. After the first chaotic day of figuring out the best way to run the Spanish “only” speaking mission with help from a handful of local volunteers and the police, we were able to get a good system down for smooth sailing for the rest of the clinic week. We were shocked to see the overwhelming amount of people with diabetes, eye infections, sun damage, and extremely low vision. Despite the conditions and outstanding amount of people with poor vision, we were able to see about 2,000 people within the 5 days we spend at the mission’s clinic site.
The local people were very patient and grateful for us to be there, which made it easy for us to help them despite the language barrier and small amount of translators we had to assist us. At our lab (Quest Vision Care Specialty lab), we are donating over 800 custom ground prescription lenses that will be sent with our certified optician, Louis Walach, and the sight is a right commander Steven Stern at the end of August. A total of approximately 1,200 custom ground prescription lenses and 500 sunglasses are being donated to the people of Zorittos.
We feel very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of Steven Stern’s Sight is Right mission with all the dedicated volunteers that made it a reality. We look forward to further mission trips in the near future and feel honored to be able to give back to the less fortunate our professional services whenever we get a chance.