213th Vision Care Eye Camp: Guatemala


Timothy Lee    Baylor University

            Upon arrival at Guatemala, I was able to see how different the living conditions were for the people there compared to the way people live in the United States. I was shocked to see people living in tiny shacks and functioning under poor conditions. This is also when I realized how profound an impact Vision Care could have in these developing countries such as Guatemala.

            Before we could begin to serve the people in need, we were tasked to setup equipment and become familiar with our assigned roles. Once all the equipment was setup, the camp began the following day. Initially, I was tasked with the role of sterilizing which is a significant task as me and Timmy were in charge of sterilizing the actual tools used to perform the surgery. We were trained by the nurses and were told repeatedly the significance of this job. As the week went on, we began switching jobs and I was able to work with people on the eye examination chart, help with dilations and help pass out sunglasses and reading glasses to help aid the patient’s eyes. The team continued to do their respective roles throughout the week and on the final day, the patients who received surgery came back for a check up. This was the day that we were all able to realize that some of those long, arduous and tedious hours paid off because patients came back with the ability to see more clearly. It was on this day, that I was able to feel the gratitude of some of these patients as they embraced me saying thank you, adorned me with home made bracelets and left the hospital with some of the brightest smiles!

            Ultimately, I learned a lot throughout the 213th Vision Care Eye Camp in Guatemala. It was amazing to see how a group of strangers could become close in a short period of time and work together to help so many people who were in need. With the help of the great translators, the hands of Dr. Edward and Dr. Kim, the nurses, and the volunteers we were able to restore the vision of many people and this experience has truly been rewarding. I learned a lot from this trip, made a lot of great friends, and as an aspiring doctor this experience only solidified and bolstered my aspirations.

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