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Out of Africa ...


“Seeing is believing” is more than a cliché to a Farragut optometrist and his daughter.

Dr. Dorian Lain and his daughter, Ryan, 18, returned to Farragut Sunday, March 23, from a week-long mission trip to Ghana, West Africa, with Farragut Church of Christ and have seen the fruits of their labor.

During the trip, Lain installed a phoropter, slit lamp and lensometer in the Andrea Browning Clinic on the site of Village of Hope Orphanage in Ghana compliments of The Eye Group, PC.

Lane and his The Eye Group, PC, partners, Drs. Joseph Manning and Beth Spann, also donated a retinoscope and an ophthalmascope to the full-service clinic.

This is Lain’s second trip to Ghana and fourth for his daughter.

“I have seen the need there,” Dorian said. “There are so many people there and they do not have any other care.

“My partner and I talked about it. We had recently upgraded our instruments and we had some used ones we were going to trade in or sell for some other equipment. But Dr. Manning and I thought, ‘Hey, it would be cool if we could set that clinic up with a full set of eye care equipment,’” he added.

FCC’s mission team included two physicians, Dr. Guy Smoak and Dr. Mike Phillips, as well as physical therapist Michelle Wilkins and nurse Teresa Phillips. The medical team saw more than 1,000 patients in four days and dispensed free medications to all in need.

In addition to the medical team an education team was sent to help Village of Hope teachers. The education team included teachers Beth Blevins, literacy coach with Project Grad, Stephanie Hodge, Joyce Phillips and Gail Rhodes.

“[They] went into the Village of Hope School specifically to help them develop a better program of teaching,” Dorian said. “They do not have some of the teaching methods that other countries have. They learn strictly from rote memory and they do not give individualized [help] to students who need it. If a child cannot keep up, they just fall behind.”

The team also included student helpers to assist with the medical and education teams. Ryan helped her father dispense eyeglasses.

“This was Ryan’s fourth year to go. She works all day long in the eye clinic. That has been her job since she was 14 and she is quite the expert at it,” Dorian said.

Ryan said she couldn’t stay away from the village.

“It has had enough of an impression on me that I have spent every single spring break of my high school career there.

“It has really changed a lot. It is very interesting to be there four years consecutively and see how drastically it has changed. Especially the village itself; how it went from the first year having one working story of a school to this year having three stories and already starting to get dorms and having boarding students,” the Farragut High School senior added.

Dorian said the mission work has been good for Ryan.

“She is really good to connect with the children. She has friends over there that she writes.

“And she just really has gotten good exposure to how well off our country is and how much God has blessed our country,” he added.

Dorian has made his own connections with the children of Ghana.

“We were in the same area four years ago and I met a little boy. He was about 11 years-old and his name was Dana. I connected with him. He is quite bright and each day he would come and sit in the clinic with me. I was encouraging him to shoot high for his education, which is not usually done there in Ghana. Over the last four years I have written him two or three letters a year and he has written back about the same, so I was anxious to see him,” he said.

Dana returned to the eye clinic each day during this trip as well, this time taking an active role.

“At first he just came to watch,” Ryan said. “But then, after a couple of days he wanted me to teach him to read the prescriptions.”

“He wrote me a letter when we left,” Dorian said. “It expressed that he never knew he could meet someone who could change the direction of his life and he really is planning on becoming

a doctor. Maybe even an eye

doctor.”

 

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