I want to explain things with images. I want to convey feelings with words. I want to force myself to remember that paralysis feeds the fear that produces it, making this vicious circle the most dangerous. How difficult, isn’t it? To the point, then. A thousand hours on aeroplanes with my friend Pia, a “navy seal of the operating theatres” who knows, like me, that we are going on a humanitarian mission to help, but sharing the pressure and the demand to give our all. Nerves, anxiety, focus and commitment.
We collided in Barcelona with the equipment, microscopes, supplies, decartables and several unknown volunteers who are coming with us to Nigeria. Tension in the atmosphere. Elena takes the lead. Something we later learned was to be a truism and a blessing. We transformed a library into an operating theatre in one day. We started operating on the most challenging cases imaginable. Very low income patients, off the health radar, speaking local dialects and little English. The eyes selected for intervention are those that are the most compromised (several bordering on absolute blindness). The energy of Elena @elenabarraquer, that “great little being”, infects us all and in less than 48 hours we become a futuristic machine that generates vision and smiles in those who come in for surgery. Each member of the team gives 100% to the universe around us. We are all proud of each other.
Not only intraocular lenses for hypermature cataracts, we also exchanged disability for hope and anguish for joy. The amount of things we experienced and learned cannot be put into words, at least for now. The funnel of what happened is too small for so much. It wasn’t 10 days of giving everything and receiving more, it still is and will continue to be.
I’m sorry Elena, I don’t think you’ll be able to get rid of me in the next expeditions.
After what I’ve lived and now more than ever, #NOMASCATARATAS
Fernando Mayorga Argañaraz – Surgeon
How can I describe in a few words what I experienced?
For me, it was a whole week of different emotions…. uncertainty and anxiety at the beginning. A unique experience in my life thanks to Fer @chorguis, Elena and the @fundacionelenabarraquer a dream I had for years has come true.
I loved sharing these days with all of you, everyone did their best to make sure everything went well, there was camaraderie and teamwork.
It was a pleasure to see the happiness on the faces of the patients who arrived with fear and left with a smile on their faces? Thank you again for inviting me to experience what is beautiful, incredible, exhausting, stressful and, at the same time, so rewarding!
I loved meeting you all and sharing so much.
Pia Ferrari – Instrumentalist
In Nigeria, at the end of the last surgery, Dr. Elena Barraquer told us something as simple but as forceful as “with what we had done we had managed to give people a better life”.
Sometimes we complicate our assessments and it is really important to be close to people who clarify and focus.
Thank you doctor for leading this expedition in which our actions change people’s lives.
Thanks to the @fundacionelenabarraquer for the opportunity to be part of the expedition team to Nigeria with the #nomascataratas programme, which I have experienced with enthusiasm, effort and awareness of the impact of performing 319 surgeries.
Thanks to the team of health professionals for the demand, patience, indications and kind gestures that have allowed me to feel useful in such a complex activity and outside of my day-to-day life. Multicultural talent with different words for the same thing; but a common goal well understood. Many anecdotes to treasure. My good fortune to learn among so many thoughts.
Thanks also to the team of field volunteers for joining in such a complex activity.
Thanks to the team of the company @gbfoodproductos for taking care of us and giving a voice in the country to this health expedition. The commitment of companies is important and the sum of alliances of this type really help you to make it possible.
And it would add up. Thanks to all the people who prepare and follow the day-to-day running of the expeditions. Teté, Cristall, María, Mónica and all of you who are there before, during and after. It is really very complex to make it all fit together and to be following all the issues from a distance shows the stamp of the house.
See you next time!
Teresa Copano – Field Volunteer