Special report by Brian Doolan, CEO
Nepal: Sudip had never clearly seen the face of his beautiful and loving wife.
A love story
To reach the remote eye camp in the village of Manpur, Sudip and his wife Kamala walked for two days through the foothills of the Himalayas, with just one blanket to keep them warm in the bitter cold nights.
“We heard at a village meeting that the doctors were coming that looked after eyes,” Kamala said quietly. “We did not take very much time to think, we just decided to come.”
While Sudip could still see shapes and shadows, his eyes were clouded with the tell-tale milky colour of cataracts, steadily growing denser with time.
“I had problems for about seven years in both eyes,” he told us. “One eye has been very much worse for the last four years. It is very difficult to see small things in dim light.”
Only recently married, this young man had never seen his wife’s loving face clearly.
4 out of 5 people who are blind don't need to be
As they lined up for the surgery, Kamala whispered insistently in his ear. Sudip was shaking his head, signs of anxiety creasing his forehead.
World-renowned eye surgeon, Dr Sanduk Ruit, a good friend and colleague to the late Fred Hollows, examined Sudip's eyes and encouraged him to get both eyes treated. Sudip was afraid. What if it didn’t work? He may never be able to see again.
He entered the operating theatre with great concern, but the soothing Nepalese music playing softly in the background and Dr Ruit’s gentle words and calming ways helped ease his fears.
Kamala waited anxiously outside.
Dr Ruit is responsible for restoring sight to over 100,000 people directly and training thousands of surgeons and eye health workers throughout the developing world—surpassing the achievements of Fred himself. Sudip was in very capable hands!
Just 20 minutes later it was done, the skilful hands of Dr Ruit had worked their magic, and Sudip was returned to the recovery room to a relieved Kamala, who sat patiently by his side as he rested.
The next day they waited in the open air with 130 other villagers who had been treated. Kamala and Sudip were the youngest amongst them. Many were in their 70s and 80s. All had walked for days.
The moment of truth
Kamala helped to remove the patches covering Sudip’s eyes.
“How many fingers am I holding up?” asked Dr Ruit, smiling.
“Two” came the answer from Sudip, quick as a flash.
“How many now?” said Dr Ruit, as he holds up three.
“Three,” Sudip exclaimed joyfully. “THREE!”
As he turned to his beautiful wife, his face lit up as he saw her loving face clearly—for the first time.
As Dr Ruit moved on to his next patient, Kamala reached out for him.
“Thank you” she said simply, then turned to gaze at her husband’s face, knowing that this time he could see her too.
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