Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Many Special Thanks To the Following:

This project was made possible thanks to the passion and support of some key partners. At this time we would like to thank Fundacao Altino Ventura and specifically Liana Ventura and Roberta Ventura. They have taken care of all the initial phases of the projects, providing doctors, volunteers supporting with meals, hotel accommodations, and welcoming the team- making us feel at home.

Carl Zeiss supported providing all the manufacturing equipment and lenses. In particular we would like to thank: Doug Crickey, Bryan Bauer and Latoya Greeve from the US team and Marcelo D’Anna and Segio Maranao from the Brazilian team.

Luxottica and Oakley Brazil have provided optical frames and sunglasses and Oakley T-shirts and hats as give aways for the children. In particular we would like to thank Carlos Guiherme, Luca Dalla Zanna and Salvador Parisi for their support and generosity.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Petrolandia (Week Two Clinic) Wrap Up

The last week of clinic at Petrolandia was eventful, emotional, and went by way too quickly. This is a town so small that many locals we spoke to on the airplanes had never even heard of it. We were the first Americans that many of the children had ever seen in their town. This may help explain why the kids were so amazing to us, so loving, and appreciative of any attention that we paid to them. Their faces lit up when given a small sticker or an "Oi" (hello) and a smile. In the end, we saw over 2,100 children, and made approximately 1,000 glasses on site (the rest will be made locally and sent to the school that the child/recipient attends.)

Maiko is 11 years old, and in 3rd grade (two years behind). He sits in the front row of his class and still cannot see the board and gets frequent headaches (the symptoms we are all familiar with of someone who needs glasses). His RX is a -2, -2.50. His father sells parakeets and is a fisherman. His mother said that they had to save for 4 years to be able to afford his 1st pair of glasses which he received and lost not long ago- and are still paying on. When Robert B. from Wisconsin dispensed Maiko's new glasses, both he and his mother were very thankful and appreciative. The mother was crying because she was afraid that Maiko's vision would worsen and he would go blind eventually. Here are a couple of amazing Mark Lyons photos of Maiko.

Italo is a 6 year old boy who was bumping into walls and falling down often. With a -7, -7.50 RX, and no eyeglasses, you can understand why. After we dispensed his glasses in his home, Mark L. asked that the lights be turned off and that Italo walk around a little. He was able to do so for the first time with no incident, and he and his parents were thrilled.

At our last dinner with the FAV in Petrolandia, we were gifted with a beautiful song written by one of the FAV members, and performed for all of us acapella in Portuguese. It was a beautiful night, full of appreciation from both sides for what we accomplished for the first time ever as a team.

This inaugural Brazil clinic was full of firsts for OneSight. It was our first time in Brazil (after many attempts), the first time we made eyeglasses on sight, and first time partnering with the Fundacao Altino Ventura (FAV) http://www.fundacaoaltinoventura.org.br/ and using their many Ophthalmologists. We cannot thank the FAV enough for taking such incredible care of us for two weeks. They were the most gracious of hosts and made our jobs incredibly easy, freeing us up to spend more one on one time with the children. These kids not only got new glasses, but they received a little kindness and love from volunteers who came from all over the world just to see them. It meant the world to these kids to have us there, and it meant the world to us to be there. I know that we would each like to thank OneSight with all of our hearts for this truly magical opportunity, which each of us will hold close to us for the rest of our lives.

Hurry and you too can have a OneSight Life Changing opportunity. The 2010 OneSight Clinic applications are available only until October 9th. Go to http://www.onesight.org/, click on "Luxottica Employees", Log In: Welcome, Password: gtgos, and complete your application.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Watch the Brazil Clinic Video!!


Thank you Jeff and Kim in Lux Media!
Let us know what you think of the video.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Day 8:- Day One, Petrolandia Clinic

Today we began our 2nd week of clinic in Petrolandia, and when it was over we had examined 450 children. Mark Lyons and the Lux media team (Jeff and Kim) arrived to document the clinic today as well as Brazil Luxottica team. We were anxious to tell them all we have experienced up until now.
Our clinic/local school location is very old, and has bad wiring, so the regular use of our electronics and machines caused the fuses to blow a few times. Luckily an electrician was on hand to fix our issues before they put us behind schedule. Despite our electrical issues, we were still able to edge over 80 glasses today- while working on only two machines.

A gentleman who lives next to the clinic received a special delivery of new eyeglasses tonight after clinic. Messias is a worker at the school/clinic and needed replacement glasses which we were able to easily make for him. After clinic in the pitch black of night, we walked over the sand to deliver them to him and take some pictures of him in his new eyewear. He was very grateful for the glasses and delivery and was touched. With no city lights anywhere around, every star in the sky is visible, although we have yet to spot the moon in the night sky.

Day 7- Off to Petrolandia

Today is Sunday, and we begin our seven hour bus ride to Petrolandia from Recife. The scenery is beautiful, filled with mountains, lush fields, cows, goats, chickens, colorful houses, palm trees and cactus. We are all looking forward to being on-sight with the lens making lab for the first time. We are planning to see 450 children each day for the next three.

Our hotel in Petrolandia is very rustic and has lots of character. Some of us had to evict large spiders or gecko from our rooms before moving in. Our hotel is very remote and on a lake. We live with ostrich, very large fast black chickens, poisonous toads (which will spit their poison into your eyes if threatened), goats, wild dogs, cats, pet cows, and a rooster that gets up very early. Breakfast is outside next to the ostrich corral, and is the same authentic local cuisine we have become accustomed to.

Day Five and Six

On day five we arrived in Recife and toured an old prison that was converted into a mall. Each old cell is now a shopping stall. We also toured some of the islands surrounding Recife and did some shopping.

On day six we had a free day, and traveled an hour or so to Porto de Galinhas (Port of Chickens). The story goes that when the slaves were brought to Brazil, they brought many chickens with them, and so now the town has large, painted chicken statues scattered throughout. They also have a lovely beach, where we did not have to worry about sharks (unlike in Recife). While at the beach we were able to drink from whole coconuts while we waited for our artwork to be created by the artistic children. As we would sun ourselves on the beach, vendors tried to sell us such goods as whole lobsters, cashews, oysters, shrimp, beach clothing, henna tattoos, you name it, they had it. Even if we had a full plate in front of us, they tried to sell us more food.

Day Four:Last Day of Arcoverde Clinic

We are sorry it is so long between blogs, but the internet is not always available, or if so, it’s at a cost, and not very convenient. We have worked out a system now, so I will catch everyone up.
Thursday was our last day of week one clinic at Arcoverde.
Tanya from Canada gave the gift of sight to a local lady who worked at the woman’s clinic where the lens lab was housed. The woman had been a great help to us and took care of us while we worked the lab. She came to Tanya with a pair of broken pair of semi-rimless with a spare pair of semi-rimless frames. The lenses in the first pair had been sloppily glued inside, and she wanted them put into the 2nd pair. Tanya took both frames and the next morning she had been able to remove enough glue to put the lenses into the spare pair. When the woman received her ‘new’ glasses, she was very grateful, gave Tanya a huge hug and called the lens team ‘miracle workers’. According to Tanya, it was very rewarding to be able to make a difference in someone’s life despite not being at clinic.
On our last day, we had a steady work flow until around 2 PM when we closed the clinic and packed up to move on. We had to say goodbye to one of our gracious hosts Roberta and many of the wonderful FAV Ophthalmologists, which was very sad as they were such a tremendous help, were always kind and welcoming to us. Our last meal in Arcoverde was at the home of the woman who fed us home-cooked Brazilian dishes daily. As usual, the meal was fabulous, and her home was actually connected to the banquet hall where we ate. The meals usually consist of yucca, some tapioca products (flour used for many things), sun dried beef, corn cakes, breads, and incredible desserts.
That evening there was a street concert in the downtown area where we shopped and listened to the music while others danced. The plaza was very safe and the locals were very sweet and patient with us in our attempts to speak Portuguese.

Shout Outs:

Larry F.- (Larebear) misses Mamacita, Garebear and Joshy-poo.

Tanya D.- “Hi Jeff, I wish you could be a part of this great experience. I miss you and look forward to seeing you soon!”

Merlita H. – Hello Kathleen, Candice, Christa, Peggy ,Cindy and Juliana and everyone at Oakley! Miss you all! David, John and Alex, thank you for the cards and the sweet surprises!

‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world” Mahatma Gandhi