Seva Canada sponsored a pediatric camp in Bujumbura in November of 2012; the second pediatric outreach ever conducted in Burundi. A volunteer pediatric ophthalmologist, Lee Woodward, performed the surgeries as Burundi doesn't yet have any trained pediatric ophthalmologists.
127 children received sight-restoring surgery.
At the beginning of Februrary 2013 we met the mothers and four of the babies who had received surgery and here is one of their stories.
Divin Nimpagaratse was four months old when his mother noticed that his eyes were not following her when she moved. She has 5 other children so she knew this was not normal. His father shone a torch in his eyes and there was no reaction so they knew there was something wrong.
Publicity for an upcoming pediatric outreach was being done through community groups, the radio and the churches. One Sunday in church, shortly after the experiment with the torch, Divin's parents heard about the pediatric outreach and called the number that was provided.
They were told that the transportation to Bujumbura and the cost of the surgery would be covered. Divin's parents were so relieved because with 6 children and a small plot of land as their only income they could not have afforded even the 2-hour bus fare.
Divin had cataracts removed from both eyes, intraocular lenses were inserted and eyeglasses provided. The costs of the surgery, the lenses and the glasses were all provided by Seva donors.
Today, Divin is seeing very well with his glasses. He is a noisy, chubby and extremely happy baby who charms everyone who meets him.