Free Eye Screening Middletown 2015
Last April, a local improvisational comedy team, Comedy on Demand, offered a benefit performance, held at Typhoon Restaurant. It was an evening of rollicking humor, delicious food and warm friendship.
Because of Comedy On Demand’s performance-and the audience eager to enjoy the offbeat antics of the troupe-Artists for World Peace was able to bring a free eye clinic to Middletown.
On October 19, 30 Middletown residents- those who are homeless, veterans, or uninsured-received a complete eye exam and, if needed, a pair of prescription eyeglasses, courtesy of Artists for World Peace, a local nonprofit that built a health center and sponsored eye clinics in Tanzania.
AFWP’s Founder, Wendy Black-Nasta, wanted to take the lessons learned from opening an eye clinic in Tanzania, back home to her own community.
“Why eye care?” she asks. “When our doctors restore vision people see what love looks like, what peace looks like, and we see the beauty inside each one of us.”
Held at Middlesex Community College, the clinic was organized and staffed by Professor Raymond Dennis, along with eye doctors Carol Gordon of Madison, and Ana Marie Gomes of Hamden. These eye care professionals had all been members of the AFWP Tanzania health mission in 2014, and once again volunteered their time and expertise to give the gift of vision to those in need, this time in our community.
The people who were served came with a number of concerns. One woman had lost her glasses when a neighbor’s dog had chewed her only pair. Another woman, nearsighted for years, wanted to clearly see her young son’s face.
The doctors also supervised students from The Worcester School of Optometry in Massachusetts, who donated their time to learn the intricacies of clinic care from the professionals. “It was extremely well run,” said one. “We applied lessons we’d learned in Tanzania,” observed Gordon, where the group had seen a thousand patents in a six-day period.
While waiting for eye care, AFWP volunteers offered the clients an opportunity to create a square for the Peace Quilt that the group will bring back to Tanzania in the summer of 2016. That’s when they will again offer health services to those living in the village of Kibosho Umbwe, near Moshi, in the Kilimanjaro region. The Middletown clients, invited to draw or write messages of peace on a square, wrote sentiments ranging from “1 World” and “Thank you,” to “Peace is Flying Free,” along with drawings of their family. These will be stitched together, with traditional African fabric between the squares, and hung in the Good Hope Trust Clinic as a message of cross-cultural friendship.