A view from the field- Hannah Arthur
My name is Hannah Arthur and I’m a rising senior at Asheville High School. I am serving with Heart of the Cross as a summer intern in the Dominican Republic. This experience has been eye opening for me. Serving with Heart of the Cross in 2015 in the DR definitely taught me a lot and showed me a lot, aside from what I’ve heard or what people have told me about life in the majority world. Getting to go last year also got me really involved in learning more about what I could do to help others and enthusiastic about going again.
This year I prepared for a specific project to provide basic eye care to villagers and set the goal of getting 1,000 prescription eye glasses to take over to the Dominican. I put the word out about the need for glasses and began to learn how to be able to prescribe glasses to the communities. I also learned how to make reading glasses and trained along with other students participating in work with us from Asheville High, UNCA, Enka High, and Asheville Christian Academy.
Vision is essential to people’s everyday life. Without access to glasses people strain their eyes to see, have headaches, and aren’t able to read when they have that ability.
We collected hundreds of glasses and with the help of Asheville Eye Associates, we got them cleaned, labeled, packaged, and brought them over to the Dominican. It was very heartfelt to see individual people get just as excited as I was about their vision.
There was one older women I will never forget. She was in need of 4.0 readers. We had her try on about 5 pairs until we gave her the perfect ones that our team made! She was shouting “Thank you! Thank you!” She went around the church shaking everyone’s hands, thrilled! At that moment I knew every part of this project was worth it. It gives me goose bumps knowing I can help someone with just a pair of glasses!
I also came to a realization throughout this trip. Haitians that live in these villages might have something that we all want; happiness. In the 1st world, we get to have anything and everything we want by buying it, but it seems nothing can satisfy us. Here they have near to nothing and are still generous, welcoming people. I think this is something everyone should really start thinking about. The people I am with here are dealing with things one shouldn’t deal with, and always seem to have hope and joy. It amazes me to see what they go through.
I could probably type about this all day. I wish everyone could have an experience like this to know what the world is really like. Books or photos won’t do it justice. It’s something that you have to see with your owns eyes to really understand. Sitting with the children, meeting their families and taking the time to really get involved is truly the only way you will be able to begin to understand the heartache they go through. That’s why I’m so passionate about doing something like this and why I can’t wait to come back next year.