A Late but Productive Night

Margaret, a Ugandan immigrant and friend of mine, has lived in California for many years. On 

a visit home to see her family in Western Uganda, Margaret agreed to arrange an eyeglass distribution in her parents’ community. Her cousin organized volunteers, made arrangements with the local school to use a classroom from 10am to 3pm, and the word was spread. The cousin told Margaret, “I’m glad you’re bringing glasses, because I had to give up reading three years ago!”

That really drove home the extent of the need for glasses. Distribution day was busy and well-attended. By closing time at 3pm, the room was full, and people were still arriving. Sadly, Margaret and her cousin packed up and went home – only to discovered they were followed by dozens of people! Margaret distributed reading glasses in her parents’ living room until ten o’clock that night!



An Interesting Approach

When we go to different African countries to hand out eyeglasses, it’s not uncommon to encounter individuals who are illiterate. In these cases, we test their eyesight with numbers instead of words.

Recently we met a few folks who knew neither letters nor numbers. It was an interesting situation that we had never had before! The first time this happened, it took us a little bit to decide we used the logo on the price tag of “Cheetah” brand readers, and asked if they could identify the animal. Translated from Swahili, we heard, “I see the cheetah – he is sitting – he is looking.”

Great! Mission accomplished.

We subsequently got slightly different descriptions of the animal, but “A crouching cat” was good enough. We got a laugh from a lady we told us that the cat was “waiting to be fed”!