Although I have been on medical missions in various other developing countries, this is my first disaster relief mission. When Typhoon Haiyan struck, I was deeply saddened that so many people had lost family members and their homes. Then one day, I got an email from TWECS asking for optometrists to serve on this mission to help the survivors of the typhoon. I immediately wrote to volunteer my services, knowing that countless people also lost their glasses in the ocean water which swept over their homes.
Having been with the TWECS team for two weeks already, I am impressed that optometrists and volunteers came together from all parts of the world to serve on this team. We see firsthand the destruction that was left in the typhoon's path, and this is a daily reminder of the importance of our mission. I have been touched by the stories of the survivors whom I have met, and too many of them have experienced the tragedy of losing their family members. I feel honoured that I have the ability and opportunity to help replace the glasses that Typhoon Haiyan took by working with TWECS. The work has been hard and the lines of people waiting to see us have been endless. But the smiles of the people of all ages on the street who wave and thank us wherever we go gives us the strength to work hard every day.
BOXES OF 15,000 EYEGLASSES AT THE BURNABY WAREHOUSE
THE PATIENT LINE GOES AROUND 3 BLOCKS FROM THE CLINIC
The typhoon may have taken so much from the people of Tacloban City and the surrounding areas, but it did not take away the unsurpassable spirit of the people here. Everywhere we see the phrase "Tindog Tacloban" (Rise up, Tacloban) which encourages the people to stand up proud and to rebuild their lives. Hopefully we not only help them to see so that they can work and rebuild their lives but we also help them see that a bright future lies ahead for the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan.
Dr. Max Cheng, Los Angeles USA