Recycled Eyeglasses Change Lives in Sumpango, Sacatepequez, Guatemala

Groups of patients waiting to enter eye clinicStory provided by Sylvia Fein, mission volunteer

The Emmaus Medical Mission traveled to Sumpango, Sacatepequez, Guatemala June 20-24, 2018 to provide quality medical care, medicines, glasses and vitamins free of charge for humanitarian purposes to the needy people of Guatemala. Mission volunteers also spend time with the children who live at the Misioneros del Camino Orphanage, the organization in Guatemala that hosts the mission. The mission seeks to further enhance the goodwill of the United States in Latin America. Saving Sight’s Eyeglass Recycling Program sent glasses with the group and 100 non-prescription sunglasses, 200 readers, and 200 single vision glasses were distributed to those in need. We highly appreciate the work that Saving Sight does to ensure that people around the world can enjoy clear vision. 

Because the mission takes place at the Misioneros del Camino Orphanage and School, volunteers are also able to interact with the children who live in the orphanage. The arrival of the mission every six months is incredibly exciting for the children in the orphanage. Older orphaned teens living at the orphanage are able to volunteer alongside the American volunteers. They help to organize paperwork, direct patients to the appropriate doctors, and otherwise provide support to the mission. Seeing these children grow and mature, as well as those from the community who come with their parents to get services each year, is a highlight of the mission trips. 

Elisa with a mission volunteerElisa - Recipient

Elisa, age 16, lives with her mother in rural Guatemala. She is a full-time student and hopes to be able to get a good-paying job once she finishes high school. Throughout this school year, she has noticed she can’t see the chalkboard in her classes. She has been managing this by asking to sit near the front of the room. Saving Sight and the Emmaus Mission fitted her with her first pair of glasses. She was amazed at how well she could see once she went outside with her new glasses. Coming back inside, she said “I can see the hills so far away so much better. Everything looks so much brighter!” These glasses will allow her to better see her surroundings and will make her school day much easier.

 Amparo - Recipient

Amparo with volunteersAmparo, age 53, lives with 9 other family members, including her children and parents. She gets up at dawn to get to work early. She works in a warehouse where she organizes merchandise into boxes to be shipped to other locations for sale. Many of the items she needs to organize have writing that she needs to read in order to place the product in the correct box. Amparo has found it progressively harder to read the labels, which slows down her work. It is very important to her to finish work as early as possible because she is responsible for cooking lunch for her large household. She goes home at noon and makes everyone lunch, then returns to work until everything is sorted for the day. Saving Sight and the Emmaus Medical Mission provided her with her first pair of reading glasses.

 About the Emmaus Medical Mission

A small group of doctors, nurses and volunteers traveled on their first medical mission to a small village in Guatemala, Central America, in 2001. They were asked to embark on this trip by Mrs. Leonor Portela, better known in the Miami Cuban Exile community as Mami Leo. After years of residing in Miami, Mami Leo moved to Guatemala in the early 1980s and established the Misioneros Del Camino, a home for the orphaned, abandoned, and malnourished children of Guatemala. The initial mission trip in 2001 treated well over a thousand incredibly grateful patients. The medical team committed to returning every six months thereafter to treat the needy people of Guatemala. Today, with the continued recruitment and participation of doctors in a variety of medical specialties, the mission offers patients in Guatemala a broad range of medical services. In addition to providing glasses and Optometry care, the mission includes Pediatrics, Gynecology, Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology, Pulmonary, Urology, Infectious Disease, Dermatology, Hematology, Oncology, Dental, and Podiatry services. Patients in Guatemala travel from all over the country to get services from Emmaus mission doctors and obtain medicines, glasses, and vitamins.