by Public Relations Office—Cedarville, Ohio
Cedarville, Ohio—Today, like most days, is excruciatingly hot on the African plain. No breeze blows, but Pumi waits in line for hours to have her eyes checked and see a doctor. She always lived with poor vision; never able to even distinguish leaves on a tree. To Pumi vision is blurry. She doesn't know you can identify family members from a distance or recognize words on a page.
Pumi will also be tested for AIDS, a disease that is all too common in her country. With a 70 percent infant mortality rate and a life expectancy of 30 years, Swaziland requires more medical attention than most other African nations. For this reason, Dr. Harry and Echo VanderWal '96, founders of The Luke Commission, take an active role in the lives of Swazis.
The Luke Commission, a nonprofit organization supported solely by those who want to give medical help and hope to less fortunate Swazis, was founded in 2005. The Commission treats thousands of patients at free mobile clinics in the rural areas where the people of Swaziland have little or no health care. The VanderWals and their four young sons have made Swaziland their home in order to reach more people with both long-term and crisis health care.
The Luke Commission is seeking support during an “Evening in Swaziland” charity auction and dinner to be held on Saturday, Nov. 8, at Cedarville University.
Auction items include travel/vacation packages, scholarships to Cedarville University, home and office furnishings, arts and crafts (including beautiful hand-made items from Africa), Christmas-themed items and more.
HIV levels in Swaziland are at 42 percent of the population. The auction will help to fund the need of $80,000 in critical supplies, staff funding and medicine.
When Pumi tries on her first pair of glasses, the clinic staff watches her instantly light up. Her vision restored, Pumi moves to the next line to be tested for AIDS. Thanks for the support of North American donors, the Luke Commission is able to provide individuals like Pumi with the resources to heal and live.
The auction is sponsored by Women of Vision, a Cedarville University organization committed to meeting the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of impoverished women and children worldwide.