Monday, August 29, 2011

Fred Hollows Trip to Fiji

About 3 weeks ago, I got a phone call from my lovely friend Liz who is the communications manager for the Fred Hollows Foundation NZ. She pretty much was like, 'I'm sorry about the late notice, but do you want to come to Fiji with me and photograph an outreach?' Of course I was like, 'Heck yes!'
In the early 1990's, Fred Hollows set up a non for profit organisation that does amazing things. He saw the huge lack of eye care in developing countries and people being needlessly blinded by cataracts. He organised for intraocular lenses to be made affordable and the training of doctors from these developing countries, so they can treat their own people. He died only months after the launch of The Fred Hollows Foundation, but luckily deserving lives are still being changed 20 years later. In a nutshell, it costs $25 and takes a 20 minute operation to remove a cataract.
One thing I really love about The Fred Hollows Foundation is that is non religious! So people can be treated without the pressure of praising Jesus.
This is probably about a tenth of what needs to be explained about this foundation but you can find out more here.

Our job was to go to Labasa Hospital as an awesome two man team.
The team from the Pacific Eye Institute in Suva (funded by Fred Hollows) were coming in for a week of intensive eye care. We were to follow the teams of surgeons, hospital staff and patients over the week and bring back to New Zealand stories of success that can be used for further fundraising.

Labasa is a town on the island of Vanua Levu of Fiji. There is high unemployment, huge rates ofdiabetes (40% for people of 40) and poor health care in general, however it has a HUGE heart and is known as the 'friendly nook' of Fiji.
I have SO many photos and stories from this trip, it's hard to know where to start so I think I will begin at what happens for a patient that comes to the hospital.

First of all, there are hundreds of people waiting for an appointment. The eye clinic is free and here for a week, so everybody wants in!

People have varying degrees of eye problems and wait and wait and wait for an initial eye test.

Mostly, the problem is cataracts, their eye is marked and they wait and wait and wait for an operation.

They get up to the surgery, have an injection below the affected eye and are operated on while awake.

I am super, super squeamish and sorry for this picture, but it shows what it all looks like while they are operating (the discarded cataract is the gooby bit on the nose.)

The eye is bandaged and the patient is sent home for the night. (Oh I love this smiley man!)

The next morning, they wait and wait and wait for their bandage to be removed. This lovely dear was blind as a bat, he was guided in with a big stick and after the bandage was removed he was so, so happy and zipping around the room with no problems.

Then, they are given dark sunglasses and wait and wait and wait, but mysteriously.

After a few more eye tests with charts and what not, they are sightfully reunited with their waiting families. *Tear*

Pretty easy huh? I may have left out some things but that's how it works in a quick whiz. Everybody was so kind and happy to let us photograph them - I still have some individual stories to share. That can wait until tomorrow!

Monday, August 15, 2011

snowhere to go

Sunday afternoon was a time for rugging up and a last visit to Mum and Maeve in hospital. Dunedin was scheduled for snow, my city is full of hills and gets very frosty and just a small amount causes a bit of chaos.

Even wee Maeve had to rug up in her hospital room as the whole city cooled down and amplified drafty nooks and crannies.

I was picked up from the hospital by a 4WD owning family member and delivered safely to Anderson's Bay.
By the late evening the ground was well covered. I went to bed with two duvets and a woollen blanket - BRRRR! Also, I was very unsure whether my flight to Auckland would leave in the morning.

I woke up to an inconveniently beautiful morning.

My flight was indeed cancelled. Luckily I found out before I got dressed (PJ day!) and I spent the day trying to knit my incredibly difficult socks, baking muffins and drinking wine with Nana.
Ooh and the most exciting part was that I got to be home for Mum and Maeve's homecoming.

Let's see if I make it back to Auckland tomorrow! I am feeling incredibly guilty at my neglect of my wonderful job - I hope they remember my face!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Crispy Dunedin

I've been terrible at photographing anything other than Maeve this week. She and Mum have been going well, however they are still in hospital.

Other than hanging with the family. I've eaten at Jizo twice, seen Liam Finn and the Drab Doo Riffs at Refuel (they were both rad-tastic) and had mulled wine at Albar. I've eaten fish and chips with Luci, DJ, Gianna and Logan followed by ginger wine at Dowling St. I had many flat whites with friends I love and shopped at Modern Miss.
I'm learning to knit cable knit socks. They are very difficult.
I went to Ralph Hotere's birthday celebration at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. I highly
recommend seeing he and Bill Cuthbert's work Pathway to the Sea - Aramoana, it's stunning. Also, Pieter Hugo's Nollywood exhibition is the photography I've seen in ages.
I did not take a picture of any of these activities but they were fantastically fun.

On Friday, my camera came out of hibernation. Rice and Beans are currently showing Michael Morley's curated show Powderfinger. Luckily his show has this living room arrangement (the chair was temporarily added) and we (Claire, Katherine, Clara and I) spent a lovely afternoon in the sun.

This image of Clara is my favourite photo I've taken in ages. She had just been to the Slutwalk in the Octagon and was proudly wearing her sticker. Below is her gorgeous wide eyed sister Emerald.

Claire and I went to the dump shop. To believe all of this is thrown out!

I popped in to Al's studio to pick up some framing. I am very excited about his mannequin hand collection. I am also very excited that my portrait drawn by Nam Cheol in 2009 and my two Vietnamese propaganda prints are now encased beautifully in perfect Al Ibell precision.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wee Maeve.

Here is wee Maeve, my adorable new sister. There is almost 26 years between us.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Luckless Photo Shoot

I was barely back in New Zealand when the lovely Ivy Rossiter from Luckless (please listen!) booked me to take some band pictures. Set in an old art deco building, we went for stark and moody.
Here are the brilliant models Ivy and Will: