Blogger’s note: I apologize that this is being posted as a late entry. The story of what this incredible team did for the children and staff of St Vincent’s is amazing to believe. The photo of the team is especially poignant because JoJo, who helped them translate for their clinic, died two days after they finished clinic. None of us knows what the next day will bring! It is so important to treasure the moments with people we care about.
We made our final journey to the school for the last day of clinic this week. I have to admit that the remaining number of individuals in need of an exam that day was a daunting one, as we didn’t want to leave without meeting our intended goal of seeing every student at St. Vincent’s.
We quickly got to work after arriving as we had done the days before and started examining the six remaining classes of students. Our efficiency noticeably improved as we were able to conduct the exams with better ease. Working through the obvious difference in language (whether French, Haitian Creole or sign language) was less of an obstacle as we picked up key phrases or gestures with help from the students and our interpreters.
Knowing this was our last day, we made time to interact with the students and distribute some of the gifts we brought with us. The bandanas were definitely a huge hit with the students, with many of them lining up and requesting one by gesturing the act of wiping their face. We had plenty of stickers, bubbles, and lollipops to go around and were able to put lots of smiles on the students faces! This was probably my personal highlight of the week, just being able to really meet face to face with the individuals we have the pleasure of serving during the week.
Today was definitely the busiest day of the week, with us working through part of our usual lunch break. I can say with great pleasure that we were able to examine each student that was present during the week as well as many of the administrators, teachers and staff. We saw a total of 197 students and staff today! A complete breakdown of our patient encounters for the entire week is below:
409 patients seen (students and staff)
154 pairs of prescription glasses ordered/dispensed
137 pairs of sunglasses dispensed
5 low vision devices dispensed/ordered
38 ophthalmology referrals
89 patients with identified ocular pathology
Knowing that our team was able to provide a much needed service to many individuals was very rewarding, but what is even more rewarding are the relationships that we have been able to form during the past few days. Many hearts and minds were changed as a result, leaving none of us the same as when we first arrived. For that, we are so thankful to St. Vincent’s for allowing us the opportunity to share our gifts through service and very grateful to each individual, who through much preparation, made this trip possible. The experience has been mutually impactful and we hope to meet again. Until next time…au revoir!