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

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Day Three

Day Three

We had a very busy day in the clinic and lab. We saw approximately 200 children, and they were bussed in from villages surrounding Arcoverde. Many children mentioned that they did not feel well on the unpaved dirt road ride in the bus, but it was not the bumpy ride making them a little queasy, it was the air-conditioning! None of them have air conditioning in their homes, and were confused by it in the bus.It was a bit slow in the morning, and all the children were well behaved at the clinic, quiet, shy and polite. After lunch the pace picked up, and at the most at any station, we had maybe 10 children in line at a time.
At dinner we had a five piece band with singers and dancers who performed for us throughout our meal. Three of the dancers were little children with loud, wooden sandals on, and they would use their shoes while dancing to add to the percussion of the music.

A happy clinic story:
Over the past four years while working at the CSC, I have watched many OneSight (GTGOS) videos. I have sat through the stories recounted by past clinic members of the emotional reaction from recipients we have helped all over the world many times. And I will admit, I have teared up at some point during each one. I always wanted to have a story of my own to tell.As I was assisting Roberta (an Ophthalmologist from the FAV, and one of our hosts) with a visual acuity test, it was brought to my attention that a 9 year old little girl with a negative 12 sphere in each eye had just come through the line. Another Doctor wondered if we would be able to create a high index for her even though it is typically more costly. As it turns out, yes we can. Hoping to get the first success story for the blog, Roberta and I found the girl outside with a bunch of other children who just finished picking out their new frames.
Her name is Lais, and when she learned that we are the both helping her get new glasses, she and all of her friends gave us hugs and pulled us to them to talk to them. The children asked why I couldn't speak to them in Portuguese, and when I spoke English, they would laugh. Lais was particularly friendly,and would grab my face and pull me close to talk to her. Roberta told me that she had to put her face within a couple of inches of my own because she can´t see. That was the point where it hit home for me that this precious little girl was as blind as many of these other people we help all over the world, and I was having the same type of moment I´ve heard about many times before. Lais was so happy and grateful at just the thought of getting glasses, and that we sought her out to speak with her about her experience. She signed her name in my journal, and held the book up to her nose to see what she was writing. I hope every single person on my team gets to experience a moment that touches their soul like Lais did mine. I couldn´t help but be moved by the fact that this 9 year old child displayed more appreciation and excitement for something that she has not even received yet, than we do for the things we are blessed to have and may take for granted.

Shout Outs:
Connie S to husband James, "I´m working hard to keepin touch with hubbie. Sorry I can´t call, love ya!"

Denise D. to Savannah, "Mommy loves you!"

Troy M. to Priya, "I love you, and I miss you. Kiss Balin for me."
Troy M. to 3 sons, " I love you, and I hope school is going well."

Brandy C, "Hugs and kisses to my other half Joe, my parents in Mustang, OK, and my sisters and family in Dundalk , MD. Happy 9th birthday to Kasey, and happy birthday also to George. Hello to my family and friends in Maryland and South Carolina! Hello to my peers in Region 52 and to my store 4516"

Tani, "Hello all my CSC buddies!! I wish you were here too, having a blast and really getting the clinic experience I wished for"

Good night. More tomorrow.

"Every action in our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity." -Edwin Hubbel Chapin

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Day Two

Hello all,

We are hoping to be able to upload photos soon, but due to chronic computer difficulties here at the hotel, the bulk of our photos may be a bit delayed.

Day 2:

Our clinic is unique in many ways. First, we are making most of the glasses during the clinic, and there are no reclycled glasses. Our lens making lab is offsight. Our team is split into 3 units: those working in the clinic with the children, those in the lab shift 1 (6:30am-2:30pm) and shift 2 (2:30-11:00pm). So many of us only see eachother at meal times or in passing. The lab runs for 16 hours each day, and we are able to maintain our eyeglass making goals thanks to Lawrence, Rob, Denise and Brandi with Connie and Tim as team leaders. Most of the new eyeglasses will be delivered to the children (at a school) in 1-4 weeks time. However everyone leaving the clinic gets something in hand such as a T-shirt or hat, toy or candy.

Thanks to the thourough pre-screening by the FAV, we have a need rate of 85%. We saw 360 children the first day. The children were a little shy, but very sweet and polite (and quiet!)
The food provided by the FAV has been fabulous, they feed us all the time, we have tried many new things such as yucca, sun aged beef, and different soda which is flavored by an Amazonian fruit (Guarana). We are all eating very well, with no difficulties to speak of.
The cell phone service is horrible, so if your loved one isn´t calling as they said they might, it is because no one can get service.

Signing off, stay tuned for more to come!

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It´s not." - Dr. Seuss

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Day One

Tuesday, Sept.8th

Hello everyone back home! Yesterday we arrived in sunny (and humid) Brazil with no problems, safe and sound. After a long plane ride to Recife, we arrived at the Fundação Altino Ventura (FAV) who is our partner instead of the Lions Club for this clinic.
They are a foundation that has been family operated from the beginning (3 generations have been involved) and rely upon government support and private subsidies in addition to their own contributions. They have a school for the Ophthalmologists who work at the clinic. The FAV has over 50 doctors who volunteer at least 4 hours a week at the clinic.
After we toured the clinic, they served us a wonderful lunch of salmon, chicken or beef, with pineapple, other fruits and chilled sodas, and passion fruit topped flan like dish for desert. The European team arrived approximatly 2 hours after us. They then ate and took the tour, and we all started the 4 hour bus ride to our week one clinic location, Arcoverde.

The ride was bumpy, but extremely scenic. There is much poverty, but people seem self sufficient, and many own cattle, chickens, horses or donkeys. When we arrived at Arcoverde, we had orientation where we heard about how the clinic will run. We went to an incredible dinner provided by the FAV. Afterwards, the FAV laid out how the clinic came to be, and showed all of the screening processes and cooperation between many different organizations and the various local governments. Over 35,000 kids (5-21 years old) were pre-screened, from 9 different cities. 1,700 people have worked to make clinic possible. From 35,000 kids, they have chosen 2,000 to get brand new glasses and/sunglasses. Several hundred others have been selected to receive medicial treatments at the FAV in Recife.
This is a totally new type of clinic for OneSight. The clinic hours are 7:30am-5pm to see the patients. Meanwhile in the lab (a mile away!) we will be working in one of two full shifts. First shift is 6:30am, the next starts at 2:30pm and lasts until 11pm. We will all have the opportunity to work with the children at some point however, and will not just be in the lab making glasses.
Until tomorrow...
Tchau (pronounced like ´ciao´, means goodbye)

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Anne Frank