Volunteer Insight: Naila Khan
My trip to Guatemala was amazing. I remember walking into the clinic early in the mornings and the patients crowding the narrow hallways. As the day progressed, that crowd got smaller and smaller. I witnessed hope change into relief as they got treatment. I am grateful to be part of such a talented and dedicated team. I am especially glad I was able to share this experience with my brother, Salam. All of our team members tried to help even in the smallest way to make a difference. The Gift of Sight was an opportunity for me that gifted me with a new perspective.
Sat, 27th Oct — 0 notes
Volunteer Insight: Juan Nuñez
During my flight back to Los Angeles, I had some time to reflect on the Gift of Sight mission this year, and I’m already missing Guatemala. I’m missing my new friends and old friends, I miss Salud y Paz, and most of all, I’m going to miss David Gonzalez. For those of you who don’t know David, he is the Executive Director of Humanity First Guatemala and our personal guide during the missions. He is a wonderful man who dedicates his life to the people of his country and his religion. This is my third year knowing David, and he has been an inspiration in my life – he makes me want to be a better man in life.
I’m so grateful that I was able to return to Guatemala for a third time, and to be part of a great group of people who take time out of their busy lives and leave their families to work so hard for our cause. This year there were a lot of new faces, both current and future ophthalmologists. I was so impressed to see how eager they were to learn and ready to do their part for the mission. Each year we are getting bigger as a group, so this year we took advantage of the large medical team and set up three operating rooms. They were running all day with doctors performing cataract and pterygium surgeries. Speaking for myself, I could have never imagined us doing three ORs at once – maybe two, but not three – and this is why I’m so proud of the 2012 Gift of Sight team.
This year, I was missing my partner in crime, “the Shafty” – I knew it was going to be hard for anyone to fill the shoes of Shafat as my OR assistant. If there was anyone who would do just as great of a job as the Shaft, I know it would be my beautiful wife, Jennifer. I was so glad that my wife was able to join us this year. My wife is a restaurant manager and has no experience in the medical field, but you would not know this if you had seen her in action in the operating room. I was so proud to see how well she did assisting the doctors and me. She picked up her role as circulator so quickly, she looked like a real seasoned RN.
As I see the lights of Los Angeles, I’m glad to be back home, but it also saddens me because I know I’m not going to be able to see my brothers and sisters until next year – people like David, Dr. Syed, Saifra, and Dr. Khan. Then I guess until next year, Gift of Sight 2013, I’ll see you again my friends – counting the days ‘til then.
Fri, 26th Oct — 1 note
Fri, 19th Oct — 2 notes
Scenes from the 2012 Gift of Sight eye camp.
Volunteer Insight: Mohammad Arslan Khalid
With my less than mediocre ability to speak Spanish and let alone no Quiche dialect, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to fulfill my volunteer duties completely. Nevertheless, we walked into the clinic on day one past all the patients and what I saw besides countless smiles, were eyes full of hope. Hope, that brought a smile to my face and made me feel ever more purposeful for the mission. With the aide of translators, I was able to calm anxious patients and set up IVs with no trouble at all. The patients were all emotionally strong and made no complaints regarding any pre-operation procedures and approached their surgeries head on. In my few days spent here, I have experienced many remarkable things take place. Being able to see cataract surgery from start to finish under an ophthalmic microscope, really put things in “perspective.”
Thu, 18th Oct — 0 notes
Volunteer Insight: Syed Nawas Ahmed
It was a great experience to be part of a medical team and to really learn how it is to be a doctor. This was my first time being a part of Gift of Sight program. I was able to experience first-hand IV injections and observe surgeries during this eye camp. This fascinating trip has motivated me to learn Spanish and, hopefully, be a part of the team for next year too.
Mon, 15th Oct — 0 notes
Mon, 15th Oct — 1 note
The 2012 Gift of Sight team arrived on Saturday, October 13 in Guatemala City, and first traveled to Antigua where they had lunch and rested at la Finca Cololmbiana, a coffee farm owned by Margarita, a HF Guatemala volunteers. After enjoying a wonderful lunch and delicious coffee, they traveled three hours to Chichicastenango to Hotel Santos Tomas. The next day, Dr. Bouchard, Dr. Khan, David and several other volunteers walked several blocks to Good Samaritan Hospital in Chichicastenango to meet with Tom Halke and talk about future plans for the Gift of Sight eye camps in Guatemala. After discussing several ideas, the entire team traveled to Salud y Paz to begin setup of the eye camp. They received a welcome and introduction to the clinic by Heather and Kelly, staff at Saludy Paz, and then spent the rest of the Sunday afternoon prepping the operating rooms and the patient examination areas. Doctors Djalilian and Mehralian arrived at Salud y Paz with the Guatemalan ophthalmology residents from IPC in the evening, and the team ended the setup day by finalizing the surgery schedule for the week.