Tanzania Summer 2014 – Eye Clinic
Wendy Black-Nasta, founder of Artists for World Peace, brought a 10-menber team to Kibosho-Umbwe this summer. Included were three eye-care professionals who set up a six-day eye clinic, offering free screening and eyeglasses to nearly 800 people, some of who traveled more than 50 kilometers (31 miles) to be seen.
The services were provided in the health services building that Artists for World Peace had helped build, funded through events in Middletown and on Broadway over the past eight years.
“When I first arrived in Kibosho-Umbwe, I noticed that the older people were squinting — yet no one wore eyeglasses nor had access to care. It was a need we had to address,” said Black-Nasta.
“Through our generous donors, Don Fortin, District Governor to International Lions, of District 33-A in Massachusetts, we were able to provide glasses and sunglasses to all who needed them. Carol Gordon, OD, received a generous donation from Zyloware of 50 pairs of sunglasses; she and Ana Maria Gomes, O.D., secured donations from Bausch + Lomb and Alcon for hundreds of bottles of drops for treating dry eye, allergies, glaucoma and infections.”
The Connecticut professionals — Carol Gordon, O.D., of Madison; Ana Marie Gomes, O.D., of Milford; and Professor Raymond Dennis, coordinator of the Ophthalmic Design and Dispensing program at Middlesex Community College in Middletown — were joined by Dr. Christian Mlundwa, an eye surgeon at Kibosho Hospital.
Mlundwa is continuing to offer the eye clinic on a monthly basis in Kibosho-Umbwe and will also perform cataract surgery on patients the team has identified. Dennis, with his students, will also be making glasses for special prescriptions they were unable to fill on site.
Spouses Michael Gordon and Rosemarie Dennis were also members of the team and assisted the eye professionals in the clinic.
“Eyesight is essential to a person’s ability to earn a living and be independent,” said Black-Nasta. “We had one patient, a taxi driver, who was thrilled with his new glasses. ‘Now I can see,’ he said. Now he can safely support his family.
“Our doctors said that virtually all the cases of blindness they saw — caused by cataracts and glaucoma — were entirely preventable. We want to help these people — and save the sight of the next generation, our children.”
The group is raising money to pay for the surgeries, each of which cost $50. “We’ve already had some generous donors who’ve agreed to fund the first 20 of these,” Black-Nasta said. “Already, an amputee tells us he’ll be able to walk better, now that he can see the floor, and a woman is telling her church how grateful she is that she can now read her Bible.
“Vision care should be everyone’s right.”
Read all about it!
Our Summer 2014 Sponsors
Shipping Container Loaded and off to Tanzania May 31st
Middlesex Hospital, Middletown, CT – Hospital bed
Middlesex Community College Foundation- eyeglasses
McPhee Electric of Bristol, CT. Premier Manufacturing Group of Shelton, CT – Generator
Premier Manufacturing Group of Shelton, CT
WB Mason- Crib, file cabinets, chairs-
Sock Guy– 750 pair soccer socks
LensProToGo.com is providing the photo gear.
Artists for World Peace collaborated with other non-profit organizations to increase our impact while providing much needed services and goods. Mission Soccer, a non-profit organization that builds soccer fields and provides soccer equipment to underprivileged and developing communities, will provide soccer balls, nets, cleats, and other equipment to the children of the Good Hope Orphanage. Bikes for Kids, a non-profit based in Ivoryton, Connecticut, has graciously donated 30 bikes to bring to the children in the village. Imagine the smiles on the faces of these children!
Bikes for Kids – 40 bikes
Mission Soccer- soccer equipment
Dental supplies donated by:
Dental Associates, Farmington, CT
Meet the Travel Team
Wendy Black-Nasta Founder/Executive Director-Artists for World PeaceAna Marie GomesAlyssa BarrattCarol GordonCathy JackmanCynthia RockwellClaudia HehrMichael GordonRaymond DennisRoe DennisMiles Nasta
This summer Artists for World Peace will make its fourth trip to the village of Kibosho Umbwe, Tanzania, with an amazing group of professionals. Professor Raymond Dennis, Coordinator of the Ophthalmic Design and Dispensing Program at Middlesex Community College, will lead a group of six eye doctors and student technicians. They will offer an eye clinic, providing 500 pairs of glasses to children and individuals that have never had any formal eye care.
Raymond Dennis and Roe Dennis
Throughout the state, country, and around the globe, Professor Raymond Dennis can be found designing and dispensing eyeglasses, contact lenses, and low vision devices. Combined with teaching and promoting careers in opticianry, Professor Dennis is truly doing what he loves.
Professor Dennis came to MxCC to help design and implement the State of Connecticut’s first-ever Ophthalmic Design and Dispensing Program – which continues to be only one of three programs of its kind in all of New England. He delights in preparing students for a highly rewarding and successful career in the popular optician field – a field designed to improve and even change lives through better eye care.
In addition to being a licensed optician in Connecticut, Ray is certified by the National Contact Lens Examiners and the American Board of Opticianry. He is also credentialed as a Certified Ophthalmic Technician by the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO). He is a member of numerous professional organizations including the Connecticut Opticians Association, the Contact Lens Society of America, is an Honored Fellow of the Opticians Association of America, and is a Fellow of the National Academy of Opticianry.
Carol Gordon and Michael Gordon
Dr. Gordon received her undergraduate degree from Lehigh University and earned her Optometry degree from the New England College of Optometry in Boston. She is certified in Advanced Ocular Therapeutics and as a Low Vision Provider. Dr. Gordon is a member of the American Optometric Association, the Connecticut Association of Optometrists, the Beta Sigma Kappa Honor Society and she has been practicing primary eye care in CT for over 30 years. She has enjoyed being involved in volunteer work both in this country and abroad. Dr Gordon has participated in mission trips bringing eye care to Nicaragua, the Bateys in the Dominican Republic and most recently to Haiti. Carol’s warmth and kindness are her trademarks and she resides in Madison with her husband Mike, where they have raised their 4 children, Matt, Emily, Jake and Zach….
Cynthia Rockwell: Member of the documentary team— media contact (680/205-0125; firstname.lastname@example.org), writer, and blogger (CeeRockAFWP.wordpress.com)
Claudia Hehr: Photographer
German-born photographer based in Harlem, New York. She traveled to Tanzania with AFWP for the first time in 2012 to photograph and film the amazing impact the group has on the orphans at Good Hope and the villagers in Kibosho. Claudia will continue her work this summer and document all the changes that have happened in the last two years and the fantastic impact our team of eye doctors will make to the community.
Cathy Jackman: is an award-winning documentary filmmaker traveling with AFWP, working with videographer Claudia Hehr to create a film about the group’s journey and mission in Tanzania.