• IA

John Fawcett Day in Lipah

On November 29th a Healthy Day, sponsored by our aid project The Bunutan Care Projects, took place here in Lipah: A team from the John Fawcett Foundation visited our village with one of their mobile eye clinics. This extraordinary foundation deserves a small portrait here:

John Fawcett began his humanitarian work in Bali almost 30 years ago. He first started a cleft lip and palate program and 2 years later his first mobile eye clinic for cataract surgery. More than 50,000 people in Indonesia owe their eyesight to him. Unfortunately, John Fawcett passed away last year, but his work is unforgotten and lives on in his foundation.

The preparations had been going on for weeks: Ping, operational director of our partner foundation Bali Sehat, which also operates our newly built infirmary, had posters put up in all of Bunutan's bays: Free eye examinations and cataract operations. Together, we had chosen a suitable location for the 'Eye Clinic Day': the Bale Kelompok (community centre) of Lipah, which is still under construction and located directly on the beach. With the kind permission of Coral View Resort, the bus of the mobile eye clinic was allowed to stand in their parking lot just behind the Bale Kelompok. The day before, the chairs and awnings ordered by Ping for sun or rain protection (at this time of year you never know exactly what the sky is about to drop) were delivered and erected. And punctually at 8 o'clock the first patients were admitted for examination.

We were a bit nervous, after all this was our first healthy day. Would there be enough patients? Our concerns were unfounded. Already at 8 o'clock more than 50 people were milling around in front of the examination room to register and wait for their vision test. The atmosphere was like at a fun fair: jokes were cracked, the new glasses were compared, in a small shelter many made use of the services of the Bali Sehat Foundation's team of nurses to have measured blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and uric acid levels, the newly elected village chief, Wayan Dirka, announced the numbers and names of those who were next in line with a microphone and which were of course duly cheered on by the waiting crowd. Suddenly there was even a roar of laughter: Made Sudarma, the village priest, who had also blessed our infirmary, came out of the examination room quite misty-eyed and raved about the beautiful doctor who had examined him: "When she was standing there before me, I could suddenly see everything very clearly" which, of course, caused a great deal of hilarity and turned into a running gag.

Gradually, the first cataract patients arrived at the examination room. After the positive diagnosis blood pressure and intraocular pressure were measured to determine who was directly eligible for surgery. And then, for some of them, the big moment had come when they entered the famous mobile eye clinic.

A total of 315 people were examined on this day, 165 glasses and 100 packets of eye drops were given and 9 cataract operations were performed.

We would like to thank the John Fawcett Foundation most sincerely for making this day possible for the people here in Bunutan and we thank our partners from the Bali Sehat Foundation for their support.