"Could I Have a New Pair of Reading Glasses...?"

Life can be difficult when we get older and our eyes do not focus as well. Basic daily activities, like reading our mail or a prescription bottle, becomes a chore as we squint and try to focus on the unclear picture our mind is attempting to understand. Here in the United States we are so greatly privileged to have access to both optometrist’s who help diagnose our our failing sight and myriad of budget friendly and easily affordable and stylish eye wear- all allowing us to capture the elusive words on the pages we read. Not so for many in impoverished situations.

During this year’s outreach to Mindoro, Philippines I had the blessing to meet women who lived in an impoverished rural area in the “ garbage” dump community outside Calapan City. To reach here home, we had to travel for almost one hour over rocky pot ridden unpaved roads, surrounded by lush tropical foliage and rice fields as far as the eye could see. As she spoke to me through an interpreter I could see that her job of sorting through garbage day after day in the sun scorched heat had dehydrated her skin, leaving it rough and leathery. Her beautiful wide smile allowed me to see how malnutrition had also taken it’s tole on her eroded teeth, leaving only a few good teeth in the front of her mouth. Her voice was filled with excitement to hear our team was sponsoring a free Medical and Dental Clinic in the main city. Her hand gently reached out for my arm as she explained that she had been trying to read for a very long time with glasses that she had found in the garbage heap, but now were broken and she kept trying to piece it back together since she had nothing else available to help her read her bible. She humbly asked if she could possibly get a new pair of glasses if she came to our clinic. I assured her I would reserve several pairs of reading glasses for her and looked forward to seeing her.

The following Tues she got a ride on the local garbage truck which went into the city and was at the clinic by 9:30 am, excited to wait her turn to see a doctor and receive her prescription and glasses. As I handed her several pairs of glasses and money to buy the necessary medications for her condition that our clinic did not carry, she hugged me so tightly, thanking me for “all the many blessings”. My heart was knowing I had received more than I could have asked or imagined by this humble woman’s heart.

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