These are posts sent in by Dr. Groetken’s daughter Kara. The posts cover the day to day of Dr. Groetken and Kara while they are on a mission trip to Haiti to provide much needed eye care.  This is day 3, day 2 was a travel day and there are notes coming on that day too. Day 3 gets into the heart of the mission.


Day 3


Today we started the day off with spaghetti! In the Haitian culture it is apparently popular to start your day off with a heavy carb so you will have enough energy to get through your day if you’re waking up early. It was actually very good!


After breakfast, the purpose of the whole trip took place. YAY! We made our way to a small village outside of Cap Haitian, stopping at a little church where the exams would be held. The church was filled with benches that were easily moved to make the flow of the exam go a lot smoother. There were a total of five stations each patient would go through to make sure they received the best care possible in the time allotted. Mom and I were stationed at “refraction and prescription.”


Tools of the trade

Tools of the trade

This station determined if glasses would help them. We both teamed up to make sure our readings were accurate. I had a hand held auto-refractor (auto-magic) while mom was using a ret scope (the tough one, ha-ha) Throughout the day I learned how to calculate prescriptions with the help of the doctors around. It was very interesting to experience all the different aspects that can affect prescriptions. This really helped me realize what my mom, and other optometrist do, the readings from the auto are not the only thing that determine someone’s prescription—age, health, and acuity also are take into account.


We saw over 200 people today and they told us that this was a light day. Throughout the week we are estimated to see 2.000 people. After today, that sounds like a challenge, but definitely one that we are willing to take! Mom and I both agree that the language barrier is hard when you are trying to meet the needs of a patient. However, today we learned several new phrases, which I am so excited about. Granted, I doubt they would be useful in more than an eye exam, with some exceptions!

photo 1

The arrival

photo 2

the arrival 2

We ended at around three and all fifteen sweaty bodies piled into a van for ten! What a smelly ride that was! No worries though we all worked hard to earn that stank! Ha-ha.


Tomorrow we will see what the day brings at a new location and we hope to help many more beautiful people! Goodnight world!