A Nepalese Couple's Treacherous Journey For Sight

Durga and Manisara Gaha have been married for over 50 years. They live in the Nepali Himalayas with their son and grandchildren. They both developed cataracts and had been blind for over 15 years.

Manisara and her granddaughter

Manisara and her granddaughter

After losing their vision, Manisara could no longer cook or take care of their household. Her husband, Durga, could no longer farm or feed their animals. They became completely dependent on their family for their most basic needs.

Fortunately for the couple, they were found by a Seva-sponsored outreach team who were going door-to-door looking for people in need of eye care. After a quick vision screening, Durga and Manisara were referred to a Seva-sponsored hospital to receive sight-restoring cataract surgery.

Manisara was skeptical, unsure that it would be worth the treacherous journey down the mountain. But, with her youngest granddaughter cradled in her lap, Manisara knew that if the surgery was successful she would be able to see her granddaughter for the very first time. “Maybe her toes are just like mine,” she said.

Manisara and Durga agreed to travel to the hospital for surgery. They set out down the mountain with the outreach team, stumbling into goats and over stones as they made their way. Manisara’s son, Govinda, carried her part of the way until they reached the road and continued their journey by bus.

Durga and Manisara being transported to the Eye Hospital

Durga and Manisara being transported to the Eye Hospital

The next day, while anxiously awaiting her surgery, Manisara said “I will be happy to see the world again.” When her bandages were removed after her operation, Manisara barely recognized Govinda because she had been blind for so many years. Eager to see their grandchildren, the couple climbed back up the mountain to their home.

Both Durga and Manisara were thrilled at the sight of their family; Manisara picked up her granddaughter and exclaimed, “she has my toes!” as she began to sing and dance with joy.

You can watch "Open Your Eyes" a documentary on Durga and Manisara's journey to sight by Irene Taylor Brodsky at crave.ca/hbo


Sight Stories and News

  • 7 Silent Signs You Might Have Cataracts

    Cataracts are the leading cause of treatable blindness worldwide. How do you know if you have them? Good question, read our blog to find out.

    Blog | August 22nd, 2019
  • Glasses? Check! Ready for Kindergarten? Check!

    Milka was always bumping into things and her eyes didn't track properly when she was watching the chickens in the yard. Read her story and find out how you helped Milka and her worried mother.

    Sight stories | August 7th, 2019
  • India Eye Care Center Finds Middle Way To Capitalism

    The push for more efficiency forces down the average cost of a surgery for Aravind. But that doesn't mean quality is sacrificed. Aravind surgeons have just half the number of complications that the British health system has for the same procedure. That high quality allows Aravind to attract patients who are willing to pay market rates. Then it takes the large profit made on those surgeries to fund free and subsidized surgeries for poor people.

    Blog | July 23rd, 2019