Panama is a developing country. And, although Panama City has some very good hospitals and clinics, medical facilities outside of Panama’s capital are limited. Add this fact to the remoteness of the islands making up the San Blas Archipelago and you can well imagine that neither eyecare or eyeglasses are readily available. So, as part of what I do, I purchase glasses, send them to friends -- Mark and Jeanne -- and they take the glasses with them to the islands when they travel there. Once on the islands, the glasses are distributed to the Kuna. This happens three times a year.
Once the glasses are purchased, shipped and travelled and word gets out that "the glasses have arrived", the Kuna come from their many islands waiting to try them on. They patiently try on pair after pair until they find the ones that, for the mola-makers, lets them see their stitches perfectly.
It is a fabulous feeling to help someone "see" well. It is particularly gratifying when you know that you have just helped to make a difference in the ease and comfort with which they can continue to make their own living. Being part of this effort is a blessing that truly fills my heart.
To that end, here are some photos that were taken during one of the "glasses" days...
I buy all of the glasses that I send to the Kuna and pay for their shipping to Mark and Jeanne who carry them with to the islands during their regular travels there. (That's the three of us in the photo on the left.) To finance this, I save money from the molas I sell and I happily accept donations. If you would like to contribute to these glasses efforts, please see here.