Zimbabwe: Cataract Ops Begin

2010-02-01-Zimbabwe-edited11IMG_1099IMG_1202IMG_1157IMG_1269By now you may already have heard about our eye surgery outreach to Harare, Zimbabwe. Cataract surgeries were the main focus, from a medical point of view. It was planned in collaboration with Celebration Health, the University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences Department of Ophthalmology, and the Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare, who all planned it well. About 7-8 eye specialists did surgeries in 4 different theatres over the 3 day period. In total about 87 staff members were involved (this excludes the volunteers and staff from DFL and Celebration Health) and about 202 cataract surgeries were done. But amongst the numbers that were helped, it was the individual stories that gripped us. One lady said our eye surgery was an answer to prayer. Others testified how they would be able to work again and go to church. Being able to read again also meant a lot to many of them. Patients came from all over Zimbabwe after they heard about the eye surgeries being advertised on a local radio station. Some came from as far as 200 to 300 km away. One man named Funny, told me that he could see that God had sent us to Zimbabwe. He was looking forward to reading the Bible again. Their thankfulness was heartfelt. Dr Roelof Cronje, who was part of our DFL team from South Africa, also did surgery on a lady named Nervie Jackson. Nervie is about 50 years old and had been completely blind for about 6 years. She used to farm and sell food for living but when she became blind she had to stop. She then stayed with her son who is 15 yrs old and who took care of her. Today he is looking for a job, so she moved in with her late sister’s daughter. I asked what she would do if she could see again. She said that she would cook again. However, she didn’t want to farm like in the past because, she said, she wouldn’t want to become blind again. I was surprised to hear this. Unfortunately I never asked her where she got the idea from that farming had caused her blindness. Funny told me something similar though. He used to be a cook but was told that his blindness had come about because of him cooking a lot of meat over the years. So he too didn’t want to cook anymore. Lack of knowledge seems to be a common problem in many of the rural areas. We also had many opportunities for devotions with the patients and staff. Often they would clap their hands in groups as a sign of their appreciation. We thoroughly enjoyed working with the Zimbabwean medical staff who showed dedication and worked very hard. This is no small matter in a country where many doctors receive a salary of a mere US$200 a month. Our next medical outreach is to Malawi on 12 March to 3 April. Please remember us in your prayers Kind regards Johan]]>

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