In the States, the schools test each child's eye sight on an annual basis. I remember when I was in the fifth grade and had my eyes tested. We were busy at work copying something from the chalkboard as we were ushered one by one down to the school nurse. At the time, I was sitting in the last seat of the middle row. When I think back, I was leaning way out in front of my desk to try to see the board to do the work. I had not idea that my eyesight prevented me from seeing at such a distance.
The students here in Guatemala do not have a school nurse. They do not have a visiting school nurse. They do not have annual checks of their eyesight. What if a child cannot see the board, which is likely the only resource in the classroom?
Dr. Gary Collins procured for us a Lea Eye Chart which has symbols of things like boats and stars that children can identify. By using this chart, with the help of others, I tested each 6-year old at the kindergarten. According to our application of this test, each child had at a minimum 20/20 vision. Thank God! The plan is to continue the testing with the children at the primary school and with the young adults who are part of my English and Mathematics classes. Even though we do not have a way for getting additional help such as an eye exam by a doctor to perhaps get a pair of glasses, at least doing a preliminary test gives us some information. If nothing else, it might identify a student who needs to sit in the front of the class. Today we give thanks for the gift of eyesight!
Sr. Pam Buganski
Sr. Pam joined SewHope as our first American Project Coordinator in 2012