After meeting the team and seeing their hard work, Michael cooked a Pacific feast for all the amazing eye doctors and nurses running the Outreach on Savai’i.
“Witnessing the incredible work that the doctors and nurses were doing, I was in awe and was very excited for the opportunity to cook for them using local ingredients as a gesture of appreciation of all the work they are doing towards eye care in the Pacific.
I grew up in Samoa and moved to New Zealand when I was 12. An aunt who lived with the family in Samoa had cataracts and no one understood back then how easy it was to fix. As I found out more about Fred Hollows, I realised how $25 can actually change someone’s life.
It would have changed our family back then. So I have a heartfelt connection with The Foundation’s work, particularly in the Pacific.” - Michael Meredith.
All the ingredients were fresh and sourced locally. The fish was bought in the morning from the local fish market and the vegetables and fruit were bought from a local vegetable market, as well as from individuals around the island.
While the team were still performing surgeries, Michael set up in the nurses’ kitchen. It was very basic with few pots, pans and utensils, as well as very limited cooking facilities. The fish was cooked inside, but everything else was cooked over an open fire with a wok fashioned over it.
The team set up a big table for the celebration on the hospital grounds with views of the ocean as a backdrop. Once the team finished surgery, they were greeted by a feast of four dishes. The doctors and nurses were so excited to be cooked for by Michael, expressing that it was a fantastic treat at the end of a long week of doing back-to-back surgeries.
Michael joined Foundation-trained Dr Lucilla Ah Ching-Sefo, the only eye doctor in Samoa, The Foundation’s Medical Director Dr John Szetu, and four eye nurses for a five day outreach to the island of Savai’i to operate on patients who have been waiting a long time for surgery. Based in Solomon Islands, Dr Szetu travels across the Pacific to support our eye care team and continue the training of our new eye doctor graduates.
Dr Szetu explains, “This week in Savai'i is special, I am here to work with Lucilla to support her. It’s an Outreach to take care of the patients who had missed the last Outreach held earlier this year by The Foundation’s team. These patients missed out because there were just too many people to see, we are managing to see them now, to give them the treatment and the surgeries they require.”
Thank you to Michael Meredith for supporting The Foundation and to all our eye doctors and nurses who work tirelessly to restore sight to the needlessly blind across the Pacific.
You can help too. It costs just $25 for a short 20-minute operation to restore someone’s sight. Millions of people around the world are blind simply because they don’t have access to eye care services, including in the Pacific where four out of five people who are blind don't need to be.
We've joined forces with Viva magazine to create a limited-edition tote bag. The bag, designed by Viva Fashion & Creative Director, Dan Ahwa, comes free with a $35 donation to The Foundation, meaning that each bag will give sight to one needlessly blind person in the Pacific and provide five others with a pair of glasses.
The bag features a piece of beautiful artwork created by Dan and titled Fresh Choice.
“This artwork represents the colours and textures of the main market in Salelologa, Savai’i, where they sell fresh local produce every day. It's important for people in the Pacific to go back to its roots and eat healthily, especially as diabetes is one of the main contributors to blindness across the Pacific. The artwork also highlights the bold colours of the market place that make being able to see well all the more needed,” says Dan.
The tote bag comes in time for Christmas, meaning people can make the donation and give the bag as a gift to a loved one – giving a gift that will change lives in the Pacific.
Michael cooked a feast for our eye doctors and nurses. This Christmas you can help give back sight too, by giving a gift that changes lives.
Click here to get your tote bag.