Six weeks until D-Day (departure day)
12 April 2018 | Australia
We're back in Brisbane and moving on to the next phase of the project – final preparations before departure for the Solomons. I've heard it said that nothing said in a sentence before the word “but” is not important, however...that is not always the end of the story, as far as we are concerned.
The good news is that we have received the official Immigration Department documentation that grants us permission to enter the Solomon Islands, a process we instigated many weeks ago but has finally been procured. We now must move onto Customs and Quarantine clearance, which, in theory should be easier. In theory...but... (there we are again), we are quietly confident.
On the BUT side:
Since March, 2017 we have been working closely with both the Solomon Islands government and Lions Recycle For Sight Australia to enable the project to achieve it's goal of fitting and supplying 10,000 pairs of spectacles to people living in remote regions of the Solomon Islands. This support is essential for the project to succeed - the Solomon Islands Government: in order to recognize and support a need in their country and to facilitate arrangements to allow us to do what we said we would; and, also Recycle For Sight to supply us with the spectacles.
Only within the last 48 hours Recycle For Sight has advised us that they will not be able to supply us with all the glasses we have previously requested. They recently filled a large order and our request had not been taken into consideration. What this means is that there is now insufficient time left for them to accumulate and sort the number required for our project.
Of the 10,000 pairs requested we have just been provided by Lions with approximately 4,000 pairs and we will hopefully be supplied with another 1,000 before our intended departure date, but there are no guarantees. We have worked tirelessly to make this a reality over the last year and so we are not prepared to give up. We sincerely thank the people who have supported us and understand and appreciate the program's goals, you have our heartfelt gratitude.
In order to undertake the actual voyage to the Solomon Islands and thus embark upon the on-the-ground phase of the project, we must now determine the minimum amount of spectacles needed in order to make the investment of time and effort worthwhile. We have therefore decided that we need to source at least another 3,500 pairs of reading glasses and, because of the time limitations, they will most likely need to be new rather than recycled.
We are hoping that a company will see the value in what we are doing and come to our rescue but at the same time we are trying to source superseded styles from wholesale outlets or importers in Australia and hope that they will supply them without charge. We realize that this is probably unlikely and therefore we may need to buy them. So, we will attempt to raise further funds to cover the unexpected extra cost of the glasses. It is a tall order but we are doing this because we believe it is a good thing and we will do whatever is within our power to ensure the project's goals are achieved.
If anyone has any ideas or is willing to do anything to help us overcome this unexpected obstacle then we would appreciate any help given. We are asking everyone to please just do the best they can to spread our message and help make the project a reality. You can contact us through our website contact page or via our phone number referred to on the site. We need your help.
It is very regretful that this has occurred but we must move forward and we want to stress that, regardless of the above situation, the Lions Club Recycle For Sight Program team work very hard, doing so on a volunteer basis and they deserve everyone's support.
The photo: Frances sorting though the stock of glasses on hand