<b>Massive Eye Mission in India</b> For two weeks the lines of men, women and children at the orphanage in Amritsar, India, stretched out the door. Some 20,000 people eventually had their vision checked. Lion Carlo Wagner, an ophthalmologist from Koblenz, Germany, was one of two dozen eye specialists who brought the gift of vision to the poor. The days were long and arduous. Food and water were minimal. Yet Wagner, the charter president of the Sophie von la Roche Lions Club in Koblenz, was energized by volunteering. “It was such a wonderful experience,” he said. “The gratitude that we experienced made us forget any of the challenges we faced. There wasn’t any screaming or cheering, just a quiet, almost religious gratitude that deeply moved me. “They were thankful for our help even if we couldn’t completely fix their problem. It meant a lot to them that we did our best and took their concerns seriously. Often it’s the poorest of the poor who are completely on their own. They were just grateful that we showed them we cared about them—they really felt it.” A leading eyewear designer and manufacturer, the Luxottica Company organized the mission to Amritsar, located near the Pakistani border and known for its stunning temples. Nearly 130 volunteers took part including high school and university students. Local Lions also volunteered their time. The volunteers had access to 45,000 glasses, donated by Luxottica, and also could make glasses on the spot to fit any prescription. The medical team performed several cataract operations. They also treated people whose vision was extremely poor. “What we saw there was truly unbelievable. We saw one Woman who had a diopter reading of negative 18 and had never worn glasses. This must be a totally new life for her now,” Wagner said. The patients were not the only ones deeply affected by the mission. “It’s hard to go from seeing how people over there live and how they manage to get through life with their heads held high to coming back and hearing people complain about the littlest things,” Wagner said. “It’s just something I can no longer understand.”
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