Monthly Archives: October 2010
Two friends of mine were in a road traffic accident on Saturday morning. The truck they were riding in was towing a minibus, which blew a tire and veered out of control, pulling the truck with them in it off the road, off a bridge and down a 4 metre drop into the river below. Thank God it was a river. And also thank God that they were all helped out of the water with just scratches and bruises. It could have been a lot worse. A lot. One was a teacher, the other was a doctor, both working at Nkhoma.
My good friend and colleague had cerebral malaria and a stroke nearly a year ago, and is still recovering. Two other work colleagues have had near death experiences on the roads in the past year. We have lost one member of staff to AIDS, very sadly just after I arrived. About once a month a member of staff at the Eye Hospital goes off sick with Malaria, and thank the Lord recovers after treatment. About once a week a member of staff is off for a day to attend a funeral in their village.
In Nkhoma, I am planning carefully for the next two months as we run up to the end of the year. We will stop working for Christmas, but will be aiming to help as many people as we can for the next two months, and hope to work flat out.
I had a busy day on Tuesday getting all the initial surgical supplies together for the modern phaco cataract surgery machine. I and the staff are very excited about the prospect of introducing this to Nkhoma! Imagine… the country’s first ever permanent modern phaco cataract surgery unit.
On Wednesday I met a wonderful group of CBM supporters from Canada, and we showed them the work here.
There are some fantastic new estimates coming out of the WHO that 39.8 million people are blind worldwide; which is a decrease of just over 5 million (13%) in the past 6 years!
Around 80% of blindness is avoidable (as in treatable or preventable); and 90% of blind people live in low income countries.
We are winning the war on blindness!
Thursday 14th is World Sight Day! An international day of awareness to focus attention on the global issue of avoidable blindness and visual impairment.
80% of global blindness is avoidable.
4% of the World’s population are blind or severely visually impaired. That’s four times the population of the UK! It’s truly staggering, but we are also celebrating. Yes there is a lot of need indeed, but we are winning the war on blindness.
It was Strinnar Duncan’s wedding day yesterday. 9am Church, followed by photos around Nkhoma, then a big lunch (chicken and goat); and then lots and lots of dancing (Pelikani-pelikani; the tradition of different groups of guests dancing at different times, throwing money in the air as you go).