Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala — The Ada Lions Club has gone international. In November, the club began its own permanent Eye Clinic in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala, a city with a population of 40,000, primarily Mayan Indians.
Dr. John Garber; president Bronson Warren; Jim Speed, CPA and Mary Garber, CPA, are spearheading the project. Garber recently returned from the city where the Catholic Church of Satiago had dedicated a room in the Saint James Rectory to establish the Eye Clinic. With state-of-the-art equipment, exact prescriptions, and the help of the Mayan people; the Ada Lions Club is dramatically raising the bar for quality eye care.
In two days, 105 people were examined and prescribed glasses that will be sponsored by many of the generous citizens of Ada. When the five-person Lion’s Club team returns in January, they will dispense the glasses, then perform 200 more eye exams the following two days. The club’s goal is to provide four clinics a year.
Garber stayed on the Church grounds in a room two doors down from where Father Stanley Rother, from Okemah, was assassinated in 1981 during the Guatemalan Civil War. The room has now been turned into chapel, and a sign beneath the brownish-red stains on the wall identifies them as the blood of Father Rother.
Garber said this was an incident that took place more than 30 years ago and that Santiago is now a vibrant city of thousands of entrepreneurs, ongoing religious worship and wonderful people.
Garber said he believes that even though the Mayan people are very poor, Benjamin Franklin might have considered them wealthy. Franklin said, “Content makes poor men rich.” The Ada Lions Club plans to alter that wise statement just a little: “Content and 20/20 makes poor men rich.”