>Four years ago I was in Grenada on a dive trip. We all know that bittersweet feeling of the last day, the final dive, the farewell. As I was packing up, I looked for a souvenir and grabbed a local newspaper. On its cover was a photograph of Santa Claus, and sitting on Santa's knee was a boy about two years old. The boy had severely crossed eyes. I knew the picture was supposed to be cute, but I also realized a grave truth: If this child did not have the necessary eye muscle surgery, he could be at risk for going blind in one eye from a condition known as amblyopia.
>Curious, I remarked to the hotel receptionist, "Back in the States I do surgery to straighten crossed eyes. Who does that here?" She gazed at me flatly, "No one." I wasn't sure what she meant. "You mean, no one here on this island? If the child goes to a larger island, can he see an eye doctor?" She seemed a bit impatient. "No, miss. We don't have. Maybe if he rich, he fly to Miami. We have no doctor to do surgery on children's eyes here." I was stunned. When I got back home I did some research, and sure enough she was right.
>On the last day of a dive trip to Grenada, pediatric ophthalmologist Ingrid Carlson saw a photo in a local newspaper that inspired her to make a difference.
>How could I let the people of an island I love very much serve me their food, clean my room, maintain my hotel grounds and drive me from place to place while I, with the skills to help them, did nothing in exchange?
>Do you have tips, advice, travel strategies, dive techniques, lessons learned or other words of wisdom to share with your fellow divers? Alert Diver wants your story! Email it to M2M@dan.org, or mail it to "Member to Member," c/o Alert Diver, 6 W. Colony Place, Durham, NC 27705.
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