By Dr Wendy Hofman:
We at the Bongolo Eye Clinic have started making our own eyeglasses! Back in June 2010, Eric and I started a conversation with Wooddale Church in Minnesota as they were looking for ideas for their “Generosity!” campaign. We presented the great need for eyeglasses in Gabon, Africa, where we work. Here patients often have to travel to the capital city of the country and spend $300+ that they don’t have in order to get eyeglasses. Many times a day my nurses and I would write out prescriptions for eyeglasses to my patients who needed them, knowing that these prescriptions would never get filled.
The result of this conversation was a donation for eyeglasses-making equipment – thank you so much, Wooddale! And thanks to our aviation missionary team partners, we were finally able to transport the equipment from where the oceangoing container had left it, in the capital city of Libreville, to our hospital out in the bush. Finally, thanks to work by our maintenance missionary team partners hereat Bongolo hospital, we have outfitted the eyeglasses-making room (“optical shop”) and set up the equipment. It has truly been a team effort!
And I have spent the last couple of weeks learning how to make eyeglasses along with my resident and nurses, with great success!
It is such a joy to have patients come into our little air-conditioned optical shop to pick out their frames, and be able to give them what they need to see well – without even the risk of having to operate on them! Praise the Lord for his provision and instruction to provide these glasses for our patients.
We are currently looking to hire someone in the community to help us with the backlog of glasses orders we’ve already accumulated. We’ll have to fully train this person, of course, but hopefully we can find someone who is good at arithmetic and has a faithful walk with the Lord. One of the applicants goes to our church. Please pray for wisdom in this hiring process.