Summer 2010 - Other News
Peace Institute: Leave the World A Better Place
Dr. Nancy Pace talked with students about her medical missions to Africa.
How can we make the world a better place? That question and more were answered by guest speakers to the English class Philosophical Literature: A Search for Meaning. Their visits were sponsored by the ‘Iolani Peace Institute.
Dr. Nancy Pace spoke on April 15 about her varied medical missions in Africa and Southeast Asia. Dr. John Corboy on April 26 shared stories about his work restoring vision to people in Polynesia and Southeast Asia.
Pace described her work in Kenya, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, and Thailand. With other doctors she provides medical and dental care, eyewear (some donated by ‘Iolani students), food, clothes, teaching, and spiritual support to some of the world's most impoverished and isolated people. In these African countries, the median age is 17 or 18 and life expectancy ranges between 46 and 56. Infant mortality rates are as high as 94 in 1000 in Nigeria. HIV/AIDS is widespread, sometimes as high as 17% of the population.
These same people also have little access to education for their children. In some parts of Kenya, only children who can afford the school uniform go to school, and they are a small percentage.
English teacher Peter Greenhill welcomes Dr. John Corboy to his Philosophical Literature class.
In these conditions, Pace brings hope and relief. It is not unusual for her medical tents, or hospitals set up in barns, to have lines of 2,000 people waiting for treatment. At times, she said, it seems as though the line never shortens, no matter how many people they treat.
Corboy once headed the Hawaiian Eye Center, but 10 years ago he devoted himself full time to his Hawaiian Eye Foundation. He surgically restores sight to people who cannot afford eye surgery. He and other physicians travel to Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Palau, Thailand, and Viet Nam to provide eye care for patients, ophthalmology training to individual local doctors, and group training. They now have the largest surgical training program in Asia.
“In some cases, these are people who have never set eyes on their own grandchildren,” he said. “Leaving the world a better place is the rent you pay for the privilege of being here, of being alive.”