A Nepali couple came to a Seva eye camp near the town of Arghakhanchi, Nepal in springtime last year. The husband, Ram Bahadur, was blind in his only eye. Seva staff met him sitting outside in the sun near a buffalo shed. He couldn’t see our faces, but he told us his story. Many years ago, he had lost his right eye in an accident while breaking rocks to make concrete. It became infected and, though he went to traditional healers, he did not seek help from eye specialists because he was too poor. Eventually the infection worsened and he lost the eye. Then a cataract in his left eye robbed him entirely of his vision.
His wife had cared for him faithfully ever since the accident, leading him by the hand, guiding him to his food, taking him to the washroom and looking after all of his needs. She brought him to the camp in the hope of restoring his sight. You could see in her face the heavy burden she carried.
Ram Bahadur received cataract surgery. Afterward, he was carried to his friend’s home to spend the night, waiting and hoping for a new life the next day. In the morning light, the husband and wife waited quietly to have his bandages removed and learn the outcome of the surgery. The moment the eye patch was taken off he was able to see her face! Within about two minutes, he stood up and began walking around on his own, heading over to the eye chart. While his was a quiet happiness, she was clearly thrilled. Her ecstatic smile showed how relieved and happy she was that both of them had regained their independence and dignity. She told us that she was so happy that she would not have to lead him everywhere including to the washroom!
“When you give one person back their sight, you give at least two people back their lives” – Susan Erdmann, Seva Canada Board Member
When we think of sight restoration, people tend to focus primarily on the person who receives surgery. However, sight impacts loved ones as well, those who have faithfully cared for their blind family members, often for years. Because of Seva donors, they have a chance at a brighter future too.
Thank you to all of Seva’s donors who have given the power of sight.