Mponela, Malawi … Reading about a problem someone is experiencing is one thing. Hearing about it is another. But to see it right in front of your eyes makes a far more indelible imprint on your mind and memory.  Dick Stephens recalls an event that took place over 20 years ago. It made such an impression that it is still with him after all these years. Here is the story in his words,  

“It has been over 20 years since I saw him, but I have never forgotten that day when I looked in the back of the car that has just driven up.  From time to time, I run across his picture, or some other circumstance stirs my memory, and that day floods back. 

We were working in Mponela, a trading center north of the capital city of Lilongwe, and ‘yes’ Mponela is the site of recent flooding and aid assistance by Action for Progress.  At that time, we were distributing eyeglasses to those in need. As we worked our way through a long line, we found many of them needed only a simple pair of readers. I could not help reflecting on the fact these glasses cost so little in the states, but for so many in Malawi even a small price was out of reach.  

Suddenly a car drove up and someone opened the back hatch. Looking back at me was the man you see in this picture. He came with the question, 

“Would it be possible to get a new pair of glasses? Mine are not doing well!” 

I had never seen anything like it, and would have thrown them away long ago. But for him they were the only hope he had to see. To throw them away, even if they didn’t have a value, was to say there was no hope. It was a good day for him. We outfitted him with a new pair of glasses, and he left the other set behind.

Today so many are in need of a pair of glasses, often they need just the simple reading glasses. You can make a difference in the life of a person having difficulty reading, by sending even a small contribution today earmarked for eyeglasses.

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