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Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Eye Camp

Thursday we went to a remote village to setup a medical eye camp. The village is in the middle of a large coal mining quarry. It was like we had landed on a different planet. You can forget about pollution control here. People were just burning off coal everywhere. There was thick black smoke and black dust rising in all directions. I even saw a pig that was originally pink but now was covered in black coal dust. I couldn't believe there were people living in this total mess. How exactly were villages surviving here? The purpose of the camp is find patients that are in need of a cataract operation or in need of medication for eye ailments. Some of the visitors to the camp had been partially or fully blind for many years and needed less than a hour operation to remove the cataract. Sadly there were a few people who had waited too long and were too late for a successful operation. It was heart wrenching watching while they were told the news. Monica was involved in taking blood pressures and explaining the operation to patients. I was surprised to see some people refuse the operation and medication, this is mainly due to the fact they are just not comfortable with having an operation. There is alot of fear in these people.
I finished filming and went to the car to get my still camera, I looked in the opposite direction of the camp and saw a big pool of water. The water was of course very dirty but I could see that there was one person washing their clothes, one washing his pots and another having a bath. I went over with my camera and filmed it. Many of the villagers started to gather which is usually the case when they see a camera. They were living in such extreme poverty. I was told that they sometimes used the water for drinking too. I cant help but ask how we has the human race can call ourselves advanced when there are people in the world that cannot drink clean water.

Later on in the evening the kids asked me and Monica if we would attend their evening prayers. We said yes, it would only be a few minutes we thought, we were wrong :-). First it took ages to get to our seats as the when were walked in we were mobbed. Then when they started the prayers and songs, they just went on and on and on. They had decided to do the long versions as we were attending. It was so funny cause after each gap I would lift my head thinking its all over and then they would start another song. Then one of the teachers said thankyou to us and told the children we would say a few words. There was no way I could speak in whole sentences so Monica said a few very quick words.
I then met 3 students who are really into computers. I spoke them about team work and the qualities of a good computer professional. Their minds are like sponges they pick up things very fast. I will teaching a computer class tomorrow on relational databases.

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