October 2019 Trip
Every time we travel for our clinic trip to Meru in Kenya, I wonder whether we will be busy or if we will be waiting for people to turn up, hoping on our first morning to have people to see. It turns out that we were not able to rest from the start to finish for the whole 8 days.
The team can usually see around 160 a day, and when we arrived on our first morning, we were greeted by a queue of around 230 people! Throughout the 8 days we ran clinics, we saw this number come along, waiting patiently for their turn. Despite a smaller UK team of 12 volunteers, we managed to examine over 1,250 people and made over 1,000 pairs of new glasses in our on site glazing lab. Every person who came through our clinics was provided with the care they needed.
We see hundreds of people in need of our help on each trip. Restoring sight, treating disease and referring for surgery is routine. However, within the crowd that we see each day, certain people stand out. On this trip in particular it was two of our patients who returned to see us.
Tony came to see us last October, having been attacked and robbed. During the assault his attackers had thrown acid in his eyes. When we first met him, he was in extreme pain with severe burns. Having stabilized the pain, we referred Tony to a hospital in Nairobi, where he was admitted for over a month. He was treated and his injuries slowly healed.
He returned to see us In February this year and we provided new spectacles to help, but his vision was greatly reduced in his right eye and he had no sight in his left. Tony was happy that some sight had been saved and he was pain free. We saw Tony again this trip, and sadly complications have meant Tony is now completely blind. With his family having already paid out as much as they could afford, including selling their car, SeeKenya has committed to try and fund the £3,000 needed for a corneal graft to restore the sight to his right eye.
Our second returning patient was Evans, aged 10, who we have been seeing for about 18 months. At his initial examination, we diagnosed that he had childhood glaucoma. This is a very rare condition, and Evans and his sister Violet were both quite advanced in this blinding disease. We referred Evans for treatment, and surgical intervention has halted the disease in its tracks. His sister has now been referred for the same treatment. In February 2020 we will see them both again and hopefully report back that they are both glaucoma ‘free’.
All our sight saving work is only possible through supporters such as you. Would you consider supporting us with just £5 a month to help more young people like Tony, Evans and Violet? If you would like to give regularly or make a one-off donation please click here.
Written by Peter Marson, Founder of SeeKenya