Someone Cares: I Can See Clearly Now

Her collection of glasses will help those in need.

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- Posted on Oct 25, 2018

A Peruvian woman wearing glasses weaving with colorful yarn.

I perched my readers low on my nose and studied the intricate embroidered stitches on a handbag at a shop in Ollantaytambo, a Peruvian village at the beginning of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. A friend had suggested I join her on this trip to celebrate my fiftieth birthday. Embracing my age was bittersweet, and these bifocals (which had recently increased in power yet again) were a constant reminder that I was now solidly middle-aged.

As we hiked, I thought about the women making the souvenirs. They did close work, yet none of them had corrective glasses or sunglasses and they live where the sun’s UV rays are especially strong. Did they get their eyes checked?

Back in the States, I gathered up all the old glasses around my house, put them in a shoebox and took them to the Pilates studio I run. Friends and clients added to the collection. When the box was full, I sent them to Hearts Caf., a restaurant we’d eaten at in Ollantaytambo that supports community improvement projects. The folks there thanked me and said they would distribute the glasses.

I may need bifocals, but I can still see need—and do something about it.

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