By: Gen Bisson
It’s easy to take some things for granted when we don’t think we need them. Take eye checkups, for example. Most of us have, at one point or another, gone to get our eyes checked. But what if no one has brought you to see an eye doctor or you simply could not afford it?
These past few weeks, Pandoo Foundation had a great visit from Sophie Perrier Coté and Yves Michaud. They are two friends of mine who, over the past couple of months prior to their visit, worked very hard to collect eye wear to bring to the Philippines. They were able to collect an amazing 177 pairs of eye glasses from very generous providers! Three communities and 150 eyes checked later, Sophie and Yves gave out 45 pairs of eyeglasses.
Their visit and the eye checkups provided all of us a series of heartfelt moments.
I personally was so moved from watching kids and adults alike look at their reflections in the mirror wearing their new glasses. Their reactions were priceless and they way they carried themselves afterwards demonstrated how happy they were: standing a little bit taller, a little bit prouder.
One of our students at the Pandoo Community Club told us how her mom had been saving up for months to be able to afford a pair of glasses. She has had trouble focusing in school and after seeing her test results, it was easy to see why. Now, she’ll start the new school year with a fresh look on things.
The second eye checkup was held in Joy’s home. Joy is in many ways the heart of our Pandoo Club, and she kindly transformed her home into a clinic for her community. One of my best memories from that day was when an older gentleman approached me and showed me his broken and scratched up eyeglasses. I asked Sophie if she could fix his glasses. Since she couldn’t do much to fix his pair, we decided to give him an eye test. He left with a brand new pair of glasses, one without the scratches that was causing him such headaches. It didn’t take long for word to get around, and more adults and elders dropped by to also get their eyes checked. The waiting line got pretty busy, but Yves and Sophie adapted and offered unending support and guidance, providing every single person the comfort they were seeking. The day was long and hot, but looking back on all the smiles from the people who left her home, it was well worth all the effort.
I, alongside our team, also got our eyes checked. Personally, I didn’t need glasses. Nevertheless, I left with a clearer view on things and a deeper appreciation for people like Sophie and Yves who share their love, expertise, and time so generously.
A big salamat to you both, Sophie and Yves! You’ve made a lasting impact on those peoples’ lives. I am sure they will never forget your kindness.