ACS Student Dillon Van Auken’s personal reflection after his visit to the Flying Eye Hospital, Da Nang, Vietnam in August 2010.
Rarely have I had the opportunity to see genuine philanthropy in my life. However, I was fortunate enough to spend a week with the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital team as a student intern in Da Nang, Vietnam, true charity is exactly what I saw. Spending time with ORBIS staff was both inspiring and motivating. This experience has shown me that with determination and a united vision, overcoming some of the world’s seemingly insurmountable goals is achievable.
I toured the FEH whilst it was in England, yet seeing it in action in a project country was quite a different experience.
It was surely a sight on the runway, standing as a beacon of hope for people throughout the world. On the plane, I saw the volunteer faculty demonstrate their passion for teaching, passing on their skills to those that would otherwise not have opportunities to develop them. The volunteers were inspirational, volunteering their time for ORBIS, epitomizing qualities associated with charity, such as selflessness, devotion, and sacrifice. I now aspire to have some of the same qualities. I highly doubt I’ll ever be on a plane that makes more of a difference in the world.
My experience with ORBIS has affected my own life in many ways which I never anticipated. After seeing the impact that ORBIS staff can make as well as the qualities of all the members, I am now seriously considering pursuing a career in medicine to try to emulate what I saw with ORBIS. A medical profession would give me the chance to directly use my skills to help others as the ORBIS VF’s did. ORBIS is an exemplary charity in that it does fulfill its goals and works towards long-term capacity building. After seeing the determination of the ORBIS staff, I now see that ORBIS’s mission of stopping preventable blindness around the world can actually be made a reality. My time with ORBIS has given me a new perspective on life, showing me what achievements are important and what really can make a difference in the world.
I owe endless gratitude to the people that allowed me to go on this trip, for it has taught me so much and will have a lasting impact on my life.