Glasses for India

It’s been awhile hasn’t it?

What have I been up to? Quite a bit, actually.

This makes me chuckle, since I’ve encouraged a foreign-speaking friend to zap “actually” out of his vocabulary since he uses it so much. “You actually want me to stop saying actually?”

My head has been down, writing what I hope will become a new book. More on that another time.

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My plan—God willing and the creek don’t rise—is to check in and appear here more regularly. Not every day, as I was for awhile, but semi-regularly, most especially when I have something to say. A good idea, don’t you think? Trying to avoid writing just to write….as I try to avoid talking….just for its own sake. I remember the story that William F. Buckley told television critic Gene Shalit that he could point at any article in the New York Times and write a column about it.
“Yes,” replied Shalit, “I think I’ve read that one.”

At this moment I’m preparing for a trip to India, my third in a year. Stay tuned and you’ll hear more about that. Before my spring trip Wendy Zanino of Manhattan Beach Vision asked, “Do the people in the village need glasses?”
“Sure.” I’d never thought about it specifically, but of course they must.
“Would you like me to save some for you?”
And before you can “Namaste” I was managing, with on-the ground help, a one-day eye camp in the village of Kanai in the Indian state of Rajasthan.

It was Good Friday and we got to use a large school classroom. Friends hauled a swamp cooler over in a tractor. It was 104 degrees in the afternoon. Children peered through the windows. Women in veils and men in turbans jostled to get in. Men go first in Indian culture, but not here. I said we would alternate, one man, one woman. No one is used to appointments or waiting. No HIPAA confidentiality rules as everyone was watching to see if that eye machine was painful. Some of the women required coaxing to remove their veils to get the exam. People walked kilometers or came on buses hoping to be able to see better.

Amazing experience to help so many people for so little. With the help of Wendy’s frames we got 125 people glasses, for less than 10$ apiece, including exam, case, lenses and cleaning cloth.

Now I’m going back and hoping to do it bigger and better. Next month we’ll set up shop in a larger village nearby. Tuesday I picked up a large box of glasses from Manhattan Beach Vision and have spent a good amount of time sorting.

And here’s where you come in….if you like. I was happy to pay for the eye camp last time. And I’m happy to do so as well this time….BUT, if I can get help paying for the eye camp, then I can also get a dentist. The water in the area has hugely excessive fluoride which ruins people’s teeth. That is on top of the usual problems of people who have no professional dental care. My daughter Ariel suggested GoFundMe for the Eye Camp and set it up. The link above will send you there. Any amount is welcome.

There is no cost of any kind to the individual recipient. I am not an NGO. There’s no paperwork or overhead. It’s me—and YOU—helping people who need it.

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About Karen Ray

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2 Responses to Glasses for India

  1. Joan M Haan says:

    Wonderful, Karen! Look forward to supporting you in this venture!

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