AMIGOS' Busy Days Providing Eyecare In Senegal Proves Rewarding
During our time in Senegal, our team of eight students and one attending doctor was able to provide care for patients in the previous West Africa capital of Saint-Louis. In our three and a half days of clinic, we were able to see 326 patients, many of whom had never received an eye exam due to limited access to care. We were also able to see a handful of patients who received care from our previous AMIGOS trips and required follow-up care.
Our days were long and busy providing care to patients with a variety of ocular conditions including glaucoma, AMD, and general refractive error. We were able to fit all of our patients with spectacles and sun protection and educate them on the impacts of hypertension and diabetes. There were also several patients with trachoma who we were able to diagnose and provide referral services to seek appropriate treatment. None of this would be made possible without the help and hospitality of Feluine and her volunteers at Yoonu Njub, who were there to provide much needed assistance, translation services, and tour guides.
After 3 1/2 long days of clinic, we traveled to Lompoul desert, where we spent the night glamping in canvas tents each equipped with beds, a shower, and a porcelain throne! During the day, our team was able to ride camels, sand surf and even catch the morning sunrise. It was very picturesque and an incredible experience that none of us ever imagined we would have! Our other fun day activities included visiting Senegalese markets, watching our translators’ band play at a local bar, and a carriage ride throughout the whole city. We were also able to visit Goree Island, one of UNESCO's World Heritage Centers. As Senegal is the Western most country in Africa, Goree Island was one of the largest slave-trading centers in Africa. We learned much more about the grim history of the slave trade through visiting the harsh living quarters and seeing the Door of No Return.
Senegal is a beautiful country rich with culture, delicious foods, and unimaginable kindness. The community is welcoming and comes highly recommended as an AMIGOS trip full of learning both clinically and culturally!