Doctor to give Hondurans sight

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 21, 1999

A Natchez eye doctor is helping give Honduras residents the gift of sight.

Until the end of November, Dr. Douglas Smith will be collecting eyeglasses he will give to the needy in January during a mission trip to the city of Trinidad. He – along with other volunteers like Robert and Bettina Barnes, dentist Brent Taunton and nurse Dorothy Sylvester – will travel to Honduras as part of a mission trip organized by the Episcopal Church.

&uot;I didn’t get to go last year,&uot;&160;said Smith, who got involved with the mission trip through the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Vidalia.

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&uot;This year, though, the need is even greater because of Hurricane Mitch,&uot; he added. &uot;Their living conditions are far from what they’re used to.&uot;

Mitch devastated Honduras’ farming economy, leaving many unable to buy needed health and hygiene items, he said.

Items can be dropped off at any United Mississippi Bank branch in Natchez or Fayette. Even broken glasses or glasses with missing lenses can be repaired and used. So far, more than 150 pairs of used glasses have been collected. Smith is also collecting personal hygiene items, vitamins and non-prescription eye drops.

A team of about 20 people will be in Honduras on Jan. 8-15. One group from the team, including Smith, will help those in need of health care, in conjunction with local doctors.

The team is currently trying to recruit another doctor, Smith said.

Other groups will lead a Bible school and perform construction duties, including improvements to the area’s water system.