16 February 2009

Katie, Medical and healthcare

india(eye camp) 009I recently completed my first Vision Aid Overseas project. This took place in and around Pune, India. I am a Dispensing Optician in the UK so whilst on the project was lucky enough to be doing the very rewarding task of actually giving patients spectacles to help with their vision.

I was not alone, a team of seven of us flew from London to help as many people as possible with their vision. Five optometrists testing eyes, with myself and one other to fit easily over 80 pairs of glasses a day is a daunting, but amazing challenge. Add this to a very hot, dusty environment with a lot of people clamouring for your attention it was also exhausting! However having only been back 3 weeks I already want to go back!

I met some truly inspiring people who have worked very hard to achieve things that in the UK we perhaps take for granted. People living in awful conditions who still go to work everyday with a smile upon their face and actually caring about the person next to them.

As well as the people I was lucky enough to see a very small proportion of the country itself. Mumbai, although a very busy city has some very picturesque parts and some architecture that is beautiful. Pune itself is very crowded and has a lot of hustle and bustle, but also a lot of vibrancy about it. The villages around Pune not only offer some glorious views but the people in them could not be more hospitable.

india(eye camp) 002On our very first trip into a village we had a lovely welcome ceremony to greet us. We were each given a coconut and flower garland, watching our team leader be adorned with a turban is an image that still makes me smile.

Each day we were taken to a different place, which means a different room and a different set up. Everyone is so helpful and eager to please though this just makes the whole trip more fun. That first day walking into a room full of boxes of spectacles and seeing all the people was frightening, but with help you soon know what’s
going on. Eventually you even start to learn some of the language!

I had an amazing time in Pune working with Deep Grihia, I made some fabulous friends and although it may have been hard work I also had a lot of fun. Having the opportunity to help others and enjoy it too is something I am pleased to say I plan to do again!
Category: Case Study

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