My name is Joel Gonzalez I am one of the new members of the ProSEC family that will be working on the project this upcoming school year. Since the start of this spring semester I have been provided with material upon material to help prepare me to take on the project. After reading the material I still felt like I didn’t have a good handle of the situation in Guatemala. I remember expressing my worries of feeling unprepared with the group. To help me feel at ease someone in group pointed out that I will probably learn more about the project in the five days I would spend in Guatemala, during spring break, than I would in the whole semester of just reading about it. I was half sold on this claim, but after going there is no doubt in my mind it’s true. Just getting of off the plane and driving from Guatemala City to San Pedro I understood more about the culture than what any amount of pictures and articles could ever do.
To be frank, I remember coming into the project with the idea that we were just providing glasses and people would gladly accept any pair we gave them as long as it was the right prescription. I was completely wrong. Even before the trip the idea was in the air that people actually cared about style there just wasn’t any concrete evidence to support the assertion. So that became the main purpose of this trip. We wanted to know what styles of glasses people liked. To simplify things, our data showed the glasses people preferred were oval or rectangular lenses, that were transition, and to be unique the temple of the glasses varied in designs most of the time.
One of the most memorable moments for me during the trip was interviewing a man in his 60’s about his glasses; he made one remark that truly opened my eyes about the reality in developing countries. After explaining to him a bit of what ProSEC was about the man says to me, “ I am glad you as college students are trying to provide us with glasses. We are tired of being exploited, but we also do not want them for free”. This gave me reassurance that what were trying to accomplish was an actual need in these areas and has great potential to be a success. Personally, I cannot wait to see what we accomplish.