KONONGO VILLAGE, GHANA (WTOC) - As we age, we start noticing sometimes subtle differences in our vision. When that happens, we can go to a store and buy some reading glasses or go to an eye doctor. But in many developing countries, there is nowhere to turn until missionaries come to town like the Goodness and Mercy foundation.
One of those volunteers working in the eye clinic is very familiar face in the Coastal Empire, 1st district Alderman Van Johnson. He's outspoken, compassionate and hard-working. I could go on and on, but here's a chance for you to see him outside of normal environment. What he brought to the mission was a link that really made a tremendous difference.
Before any of the more than 1,100 people could get eyeglasses, they had to go through Van Johnson. "You want to get your eyes checked. You're going to need a visual acuity test an eye test. You sit right over here OK. Who's the last one in line over here? You go behind them," explained Van Johnson.
It's a tough job, a lot like a traffic cop. Johnson's job: keeping an eye on the entire clinic grounds trying to make sure everyone gets to see the doctors in an orderly fashion. In the process, he runs into his share of patients who have to be reminded of rules. "I understand that ma'am, but I can't put you in front of all these all of these people. I am sorry. "
In the midst of keeping law and order, Van Johnson knows this is perhaps the most important job he has ever had. "I am blessed, I am blessed, I am blessed and I mean if we just realize just how blessed we are, we come to these places and we see individuals who don't have just by virtue of where they were born if I was born here, I would be just as poor. I think it is just incumbent on me and individuals who support us to give back and you may not be able to go on the mission, but you can support the mission in other ways," said Johnson.
This is Johnson's second medical mission with Goodness and Mercy. He admits going to Nigeria and now Ghana has changed his life. "I complain a whole lot less. I am grateful a whole lot more and I just think about these people every day. I think about what they are thinking and what they are going through and how we can co exist on this planet same earth and yet have such different lives. They are grateful for us, but I am really grateful for them," explained Johnson.
He was all about law and order, but Van Johnson was very fair and worked hard to make sure that as many people as possible got the treatment they needed.