MY NICARAGUA MISSION TRIP Trip By Dr. Mark German, Optometrist at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin
Fr. Salvador Schlaefer of Campbellsport, Wisconsin was a newly ordained Capuchin Priest in 1947 when he was assigned to serve the people of Eastern Nicaragua in Central America. Many of the remote villages were only accessible by horseback, boat or on foot. He was later ordained Bishop of Bluefields, Nicaragua in 1970 and held that position until his death in 1993.
In 1997, the Capuchin Order invited Drs. Anthony and Ann Schlaefer, Fr. Sal’s brother and niece, to provide much needed eye care to the people of Puerto Cabazas, Nicaragua. 600 Nicaraguans received eye exams and glasses donated from the Campbellsport area churches and Lions club.
Since that time, this eye care group has expanded to 12 volunteers, returning every two years to remote Nicaraguan villages. This February, Drs. Ann Schlaefer, Laura Rau, Robert Moen and I, along with 14 others travelled to Waslala, Nicaragua. It is an area northeast of Managua that took seven hours to get to by bus. We performed eye exams on over 1000 people, dispensed over 1100 pairs of prescription glasses and handed out over 1000 pairs of sunglasses. It had been 8 years since any mission group had been to this area to provide eye care.
It was an honor to help perform these eye exams and to represent Marilyn and Leo Schlaefer, Bishop Sal’s cousin and my aunt and uncle. We put in long 11 hour days but the smiles on their faces made it well worth it after allowing those people to see clearly-many of them for the first time in their life.
Dr. Mark German is an Optometrist at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals specializing in general eye care and hard-to-fit contact lens patients. He welcomes patients of all ages into his practice and accepts most insurance plans.
For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.LakeShoreVision.com.