Where do all those funny-looking glasses end up?
By Sonja Kosler Staff Writer Have you ever wondered what happens to all of the glasses placed in those Lions recycling boxes? A young University of Minnesota woman accompanied a group of Lions members from Detroit Lakes, Frazee, and Parkers Prair...
By Sonja Kosler
Have you ever wondered what happens to all of the glasses placed in those Lions recycling boxes?
A young University of Minnesota woman accompanied a group of Lions members from Detroit Lakes, Frazee, and Parkers Prairie during her spring break. Here is her story:
A different kind of spring break
By Maniezheh Firouzi
For many people, the words "spring break" bring to mind the worst cable television has to offer-- namely, unsightly images of college co-eds shaking their scantily clad collective groove thangs on tropical beaches in contortions that could only leave their parents at home with mouths agape.
But for a group of doctors and their families (and yes, university students), MTV wasnt part of the spring break equation.
In March 2006, the group Ojos Para Mazatlán, or "Eyes for Mazatlán" traveled to this Mexican city to provide free eye care to more than 800 students and 500 adults that lined up in schools, a church, and a community center. Dr. Armand Radke led the group of Detroit Lakes, Frazee and Parkers Prairie Lions Club members joined by students from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. The group plans to return twice next year.
Children with sparkling chocolate brown eyes, charcoal black hair and nervous smiles would, in a barely audible whisper, say that the image a volunteer was pointing to on the eye chart was a heart or star. For the chart of letters, some of the younger boys would shout out the letters of the alphabet proudly, asserting to the teachers standing near by that they did, in fact, pay attention in class. Adults waiting for glasses would have crystalline clear vision once they were able to try on glasses that fit their personalities and complexions. I smiled knowing that vanity was international-regardless of someones financial destitution; a person always wants to be able to look in the mirror and like what he sees.
Mazatlán is a city of velvety cream beaches with aquamarine waters that melt into the tequila sunsets. The buildings that dot the main drag come in all colors of the rainbow from terracotta to sapphire to rose pink. As a student volunteer I viewed the experience as bittersweet. It was fulfilling in more ways than words can describe to lend a helping hand. Yet it was heartbreaking to leave the outlying parts of the city that had mangy dogs and dirt roads and wonder if any of the children I met would be able to someday know Mazatlán outside the red light district in which they lived.
Would they be able to enjoy their city like a tourist does?
I was humbled by the graciousness of the Mexicans. My level of Spanish was intermediate at best, yet women and men would smile brightly and offer reassuring compliments that my (or any of the volunteers' Spanish skills) were understandable. It was different than people in the Twin Cities who often dont care enough to signal before they cut you off on the highway while talking on their cell phone.
Even though my tan lines have since faded, the impressions of the trip have soaked into me deeper than SPF 50. Mazatlan instilled the pressing importance of being able to give back, whenever anyone finds themselves with the resources or the time. Because in Mexico, the sunsets are merely tokens compared to the smiles of appreciation of the people.