Kingsely Holgate shares bushnotes from the edge of Lake Tanganikya:
Seeing is believing – what an adventure!
It’s a good feeling to be able to use an adventure to improve the quality of lives of others through this dedicated Rite to Sight expedition that’s taking us from village to village up the remote shoreline of Lake Tanganyika.
According to the World Health Organisation, 246 million people are estimated to have low vision worldwide and about 90% of the world’s visually impaired live in developing countries. So, in keeping with using adventure to improve lives, the Kingsley Holgate Foundation’s Rite to Sight campaign, started more than a decade ago by Mashozi (Gill Holgate) on an expedition to follow the Tropic of Capricorn around the world by land, supplies poor-sighted people in remote areas with spectacles. To date, thanks to support from Land Rover and others, the project has been able to distribute over 130,000 reading glasses. And now, the number is growing.
The dedication of our crew members for this work is inspiring; our rather serious skipper Captain Kapezi manoeuvres the Lake Shore Wanderer into countless village anchorages, between rocky outcrops, onto sandy beaches and reeded river mouths. Nordryk does a great job of interpreting and Hasani the cook pitches in to help. What’s special is the gratitude from the mostly elderly recipients who literally, after ten minutes or so of eye testing, can see clearly again to read, write, thread a needle, see numbers on their small cell phone screens, weave a net, basket or mat and bait a fishing hook. It is satisfying but demanding work – the level of concentration and patience needed for each person is intense – done under trees, next to fishing nets drying on the lakeshore or at a good anchorage, folk climb on board the Wanderer. The Mwenyekitis (village Chairmen) rally round to assist with the recording of each person’s name, age and reading glass strength.
Many more villages to visit…will keep you posted.
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Source: Kingsley Holgate Foundation