A box of very precious cargo was amongst the 370kg of aid I recently helped distribute in Addis Ababa.  This box contained reading glasses and sunglasses which are not readily available in Addis, let alone to the poor and the elderly.

My priority this trip was to give some glasses to the elderly, who have so very little as it is, yet something like being able to read a book can brighten their lives and give them some joy.  They live in extremely basic conditions, but at least they have a roof over their heads, so to be given a pair of glasses and a book to read was something short of a miracle for them.  They all tried on the different strengths to find what suited, language was no barrier as their faces told the story of happiness at being given the opportunity to read again.

They were simply amazed that a pair of glasses could make all the difference as most of them have not been able to read for many years.

There is no shortage of taxi drivers in Addis, they are not well paid, so a pair of sunglasses to protect their eyes is a luxury most can ill afford.  I gave some to a few of the drivers we used, they were so grateful as they drive for long hours.

The shoe shine business does a roaring trade, you will see a line up of young boys (mostly street boys) sitting outside in the hot sun with no eye protection at all.  I gave them all a pair of glasses, which I know they will look after along with their shoe shine kits.

It is wonderful that a simple pair of glasses, whether it be to read or to protect the eyes against the harsh conditions, can make such a difference.

Thank you to Tasmanian Eye Institute for making it possible to make a difference to these people.

Gaylene Cooper