A member of the Church – Dr. Hassan – Opthomologist – owns an eye clinic. He has several LDS employees including Dr’s that work for him. When he hires them they have to guarantee to volunteer one day a week. Dr. Hassan travels all over the world lecturing and teaching techniques for eye care and surgery.
And so one week after arriving we and the Baker’s went with Dr. Hassan’s team into an open market to do free eye exams. On the way there – the driver used a loud speaker announcing free eye exams in english and Yuroba. Then we pulled into an open market – using the motorhome, Dr. Hassan bought for his free clinic, pulled it to the side of the road and set up for free eye exams. Before we did this we had to get the approval of the mayor of the market, which happened to be a women. She okayed and we proceeded to set up.
People began coming and standing in groups – there is no such a thing as personal space – So Elder Baker and I were in charge of crowd control. Many times you had to physically (gently) move people back so the Dr’s could check people. Finally we got some lines going. Very difficult but we had fun with them – some women showed me how to wrap their head dress. Some women showed us how to dance. Others sang. It was warm weather but they were willing to stand in the sun. The only shade was under the awning and that is where the two folding chairs were placed for the persons having their eyes checked and at the other end was the eye chart, tied onto the frame of the awning and Brent had to hold the signs because they would slide or the slight wind would move them. Once in a while a man in line would step up and hold the signs so Brent could rest his arms.
We saw 240+ men, women and children that day and had to turn that many away because we had to leave. We started about 11:00 am and didn’t finish until 4:00pm. And if a person needed more examination they would go into the motorhome where machines were set up. They could buy reading glasses for a small fee. Other glasses or surgery they would need to go to Dr. Hassan’s Deseret Foundation Clinic – this clinic was for the poor. Some services are free and others at a price they could afford. Just as a side light -everyone lets you know if someone is butting in line and they get yelled at until the problem is resolved. So they pretty much took care of the problem. Luckily no fist fights. Everyone yells and raises their voices but no big deal. That even do that when they are happy.
He has a building called “The Eye Foundation” which he runs and those that can afford care go there. He donates a large percentage of this income to The Deseret Foundation.
Cataracts are a hugh problem here in Nigeria. Even children have them and so Dr. Hassan wants to help the poor and remove cataracts so the people can function and feel productive and make a living and children can run a play once more.