Cambodians Ping and Sam, like many couples that married young, grew up together. They faced countless hardships from surviving through the Khmer Rouge regime to raising and feeding their 8 children. But through the good times and the bad, they supported each other. Now that their children are grown with families of their own, Ping and Sam dream of farming their land, walking in the woods, visiting the pagoda and watching their grandchildren grow up.
They never imagined that together they would lose their sight, their independence and their dreams.
Over the last eight years, Ping and Sam steadily lost their vision. Their daily tasks became increasing more difficult. Sam often burnt herself while trying to cook and at night they feared the treacherous walk down the steep steps from their raised house to their outhouse. Occasionally one of their daughters came to stay and care for them. But their daughters have families of their own, and could not always be there.
Ping said that his vision was so bad he "could only guess when it was night and when it was day." They had not seen each other, their children, grandchildren or friends clearly in many years. When their family came to visit, they identified them only by their voices.
Ping was hurt and confused about why he and his wife would be going blind and assumed that it was just their unlucky fate.
Fortunately, a Seva eye screening was held in their village and a field worker examined both Ping and Sam. Suspecting that they had cataracts, the field worker explained that their blindness could be treated with sight-restoring surgery at the eye hospital. Ping and Sam were nervous but agreed to go with the field worker to the hospital.
Early the next morning they were transported for free to the hospital, examined by an ophthalmologist and scheduled for cataract surgery.
When the bandages came off, Ping and Sam were thrilled. They could see as clearly as they had when they were young. They spent the first few hours staring at each other lovingly, finally able to see each other after so many years.
As they climbed into the van to drive home, Ping and Sam were filled with tremendous happiness and gratitude for the Seva donors who made this surgery possible. They no longer had to depend on their daughters for support, but could instead help raise their grandchildren and watch them grow up. They no longer had to sit at home wondering if it was night or day, but could now walk, hand in hand to the pagoda and back home. Their dreams were now a reality.