One good deed can go a long way…
Ife Owoeye is 17 years old and from ACS Cobham. He would like to be a doctor and chose to apply for this internship to gain a greater understanding of the world of medicine. Maybe he's a future Orbis volutneer in the making! He's had a jam packed week and met with patients at their homes and at hospital. Over the past few days he's been able to discover how access to eye care can open up doors and make a real difference to people's lives.
This internship trip to Hue City, Vietnam, is my first time visiting Asia. An amazing aspect of Hue that I’ve noticed is how crazy, yet considerate the drivers on the roads here are. They dash through the streets in all directions, but never crash into each other because their conscience kicks in, and allows them to make way for the people around them who pass and continue moving. This craziness and consideration parallels the hustle of Hue Eye Hospital.
Here, patients are scattered all over as they await a diagnosis or operation, while Orbis acts as the catalyst, making it possible for the doctors and nurses to be trained and for many patients to be treated, so they can keep moving on with their lives.
The best example of this would be a girl named Phuc, 16, who we caught up with today in the strabismus ophthalmology office. Strabismus is a condition that alters the position of the eye, causing vision problems. We met Phuc yesterday and were able to witness her strabismus surgery on her right eye, performed by Dr. Thao. Today we saw her take her bandage off and begin her new life with clear vision.
At first, Phuc was nervous to see the results of her operation. Once Dr. Thao removed her bandage she saw that both of Phuc’s eyes aligned properly, meaning that the operation was a success. Phuc was very shy in the past as her strabismus made her insecure, but when we asked her how she felt she said: “I now feel more confident to share my story with people because my surgery was a success and my eyes look normal.” It was very powerful to witness a young woman regaining her confidence and experiencing her own metamorphosis as she nears adulthood.
We also caught up with 11-year-old Ninh, whom we were also lucky enough to meet yesterday. Whilst he was waiting for his cataract surgery, he kindly drew a picture for us to keep. This was truly touching as we had given him a canvas and pencils as a gift. He chose to give the gift back to us as a sign of his gratitude to Orbis.
Lastly, we visited the center of Hue to see a 14-year-old named Phuc, only this time Phuc was a boy. Phuc grew up in poverty and weighs only 30kg. Phuc had suffered from ptosis since birth. This is a condition which causes the eyelid to droop and can obscure vision. Thanks to Orbis, he was able to get the treatment he needed to see clearly.
It was very eye opening to see Phuc in his home. When we met him he was watching cartoons and playing with his pet cat, like every other kid. Inspirationally, despite all the hardships he has faced at such a tender age, he moves on with his life in a very positive direction. He goes to school and enjoys mathematics, and is even learning to speak English!
It was incredible to witness the transformation of these kids, and it was truly inspiring to see firsthand the impact of Orbis’s work in Vietnam. Hearing about good deeds is one thing, but it was particularly powerful to see the patients in their element; be it at their home or just with their family. I will be forever grateful to have been chosen by my school to attend this internship because until now it never hit me as to just how lucky I am, and I never knew how far a few good deeds could go.