The Glasses Saga

I’ve needed new glasses for about 5 years and finally decided to snag a pair in Rwanda while we still had insurance. The process went something like this.

– Hear about an eye doctor in the UTC building that lists “CORAR” insurance on their sign.
– Visit the eye doctor and confirm that they do indeed take CORAR, but only for glasses. The eye exam has to be out of pocket. The office is insanely busy so decide to come back another day for an exam.
– Visit the office one week later. Pay 2,500 rwf (~$4.50) for an exam.
– Enter the exam room and greet the eye doctor. Explain that I have to remove my contacts for the exam. Explain that I *had* to wear my contacts to come because I cannot see to drive without them. Promptly upon removing contacts be asked to sign a piece of paper. Explain that I have to hold the paper 2 inches away from my face just to be able to read what I’m signing. Endure doctor’s exasperation.
– Look at a picture of a hot air balloon while a machine clicks and whirrs and, apparently, measures my eyes.
– Sit in the big chair and have various lenses flipped in front of my eyes. Listen to the doctor’s increasingly amazing “Eh! Eh!” as I cannot even read the top line of the eye chart.
– *Finally* find a reasonable prescription. Listen to the doctor explain that my eyes are “very bad.” Um, yes, thank you.
– Take the prescription to the front desk and find out that the insurance will cover glasses/frames up to 150,000 rwf (~$250). The lenses that I need cost 65,000 rwf (you can calculate this yourself) so I have a decent chunk  of francs to spend on frames.
– Choose the only frames that don’t look like: my mother’s glasses, a Portland hipster, a 1960s housewife or a Rwandan pastor.
– Discover that I have to take my own paperwork over to the CORAR office to be approved.
– Walk to CORAR.
– Give my paperwork to a nun to stamp and sign.
– Return to Nu-Vision with my approved paperwork.
– Wait while the office checks to see if they have my lenses in stock.
– Go into shock when the office announces that they have my lenses and my glasses will be ready in 2 hours!
– Pick the glasses up that evening.

The speed with which I received these glasses was truly a Rwandan miracle. Now I will be able to enjoy the airplane!


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