Kenya: Lmesinae had cataracts in both eyes and would probably have spent the rest of his life in an institution, with no future, and no hope. Sight restoring surgery changed his life.
Twelve-year-old Lmesinae lives in a remote part of Kenya, many hours drive from the nearest town. His village is a semi-permanent collection of mud huts, with a token fence to keep the animals off the rare scraps of vegetation.
Lmesinae had grown increasingly blind from early childhood, which might be why he’s also exceptionally shy.
Schoolwork was difficult for him. With only a few hard working teachers and many children, his local school couldn't deal with the special needs of a blind child.
Lmesinae’s teachers really wanted to help, so they looked around for schools specialising in teaching children with disabilities.
The nearest was a boarding school in Maralal, a three-hour drive from his village, which for Lmesinae’s family, with no access to transport, might as well be an ocean away.
The teachers at Lmesinae’s new school were familiar with blindness. They could see straight away that he had cataract – a cloudiness that can occur in the lens of the eye.
This was wonderful news for Lmesinae – he found out his cataract could probably be treated with a simple operation.
Lmesinae was sent to the Children’s Eye Unit in Nakuru for treatment.
The Fred Hollows Foundation has worked with the Nakuru Eye Unit for years now, providing training and equipment and helping to set up a special children’s surgery unit.
The doctor who operated on Lmesinae, Dr James Maina, was trained by The Foundation.
Dr Maina removed the cataracts from each of Lmesinae's eyes, and replaced the clouded lenses with a tiny plastic equivalent, called an intraocular lens.
When the bandages were removed and Lmesinae opened his eyes, he flashed the most wonderful smile.
Lmesinae wants to be a teacher, and with his sight restored he has the opportunity to realise his dream.
This is the reason Fred worked so hard to train doctors like James Maina, and why we try so hard to let people know these services are available.
Every effort is worth it to see Lmesinae’s smile.
We took Lmesinae back to his village and his mother threw her arms around him and wept tears of joy.
“Thank you very much for your work. Thank you for helping my son,” she said.
It is not often we have in our hands the power to create miracles.
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