A Vision Shared27 July 2017 Go back
Sea Mercy’s mission to bring eye care to remote islands is a purpose close to the hearts of the Oyster World Rally participants. The not-for-profit charity offers floating health care to citizens of the island nations in the South Pacific and the ability to meet those needs are being supported by the Oyster fleet.
Prior to the yachts setting sail on their round-the-world-adventure from Antigua in January, Sea Mercy volunteers not only trained but also equipped Oyster owners with hundreds of pairs of prescription glasses so that rally partakers could provide an invaluable charitable offering to remote communities as part of their ‘Give Sight Programme’.
Individually it is impossible for Sea Mercy to meet all the eye care needs in the South Pacific but working together with their partners, such as Oyster Yachts, they can accomplish what had been viewed as an impossible challenge. In return, a sense of ‘sailing with a greater purpose’ by having the ability to restore sight and change the destiny of the remote island people is a priceless and unmeasurable gift.
Eye care is something that can be taken for granted for those fortunate to have a Specsavers on every High Street, but in these faraway and isolated areas it is not easily available. Providing glasses for people who really need them makes a huge difference to their lives and the Oyster participants conducted their first eye clinic in Maupiti. The fleet had found on their travels so far that French Polynesia had seemed to have good medical provision – but in Maupiti they found a need.
The Mayor of Maupiti arranged to send a motor bike round the island to spread the word about the Oyster eye clinic and those who attended were instinctively good at self-selecting the glasses available. The trend of the younger women requiring glasses for the very common problem of short-sightedness, or myopia was apparent and for those islanders who had a few more years under their belts showed signs of long-sightedness which is an inevitable part of the ageing process!
For one young lady, her world was transformed when she was given a pair of ‘eyejusters’ which enabled her to almost read the bottom of the distance chart. Without them, she struggled to read the second line of the chart. She had glasses as a child but they suffered unrepairable damage and she hadn’t been able to see properly until this moment.
In total Charles and Nicky Manby, owners of Oyster 575-15 Calliope who set up the clinic, dispensed around 13 pairs of short-sighted ‘eyejusters’ and almost double the amount for long-sightedness. A handful of those tested had very good vision and didn’t require the help of lenses.
The deputy mayor however was eventually persuaded by Nicky to come in to the clinic as he was renowned to wave at people he couldn’t recognise. He already owned a pair of glasses for reading but also showed signs of myopia and thanks to Oyster, both near and long sight needs have now been met. In an ideal world, varifocals would have been dispensed which just goes to show the economic disparity.
The Oyster fleet plan to set up further eye clinics in Maupihea and surrounding islands as their quest to share Sea Mercy’s vision continues.
Find out more about the fantastic work by Sea Mercy here: www.seamercy.org