Cambridge charity worker ‘humbled’ by operation to save young father’s sight

PUBLISHED: 11:33 22 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:34 22 October 2018

Desire (28 years old) lives in Central Cameroon and has blue dot congenital bilateral cataracts (tiny lens opacities of blue or white color generally appear from birth through 18 and 24 months of age but may not be diagnosed until adulthood). The condition affected his vision and he struggled throughout his primary school education and he did not go to secondary school. He also had to give up his dream to become a carpenter. Desire has strong difficulties to read, or see well on very sunny days.  Due to this impairment Desire is unable to do some chores around his home, play football with his peers or work effectively on his farm. He is constantly squinting or shading his eyes with his hand to see well. He lives together with his 4 minor children, his fiancé Bernadette (25) – and he is also responsible for his mother Marceline (51). Desire will receive cataract surgery at CBM partner MICEI.

Desire (28 years old) lives in Central Cameroon and has blue dot congenital bilateral cataracts (tiny lens opacities of blue or white color generally appear from birth through 18 and 24 months of age but may not be diagnosed until adulthood). The condition affected his vision and he struggled throughout his primary school education and he did not go to secondary school. He also had to give up his dream to become a carpenter. Desire has strong difficulties to read, or see well on very sunny days.  Due to this impairment Desire is unable to do some chores around his home, play football with his peers or work effectively on his farm. He is constantly squinting or shading his eyes with his hand to see well. He lives together with his 4 minor children, his fiancé Bernadette (25) – and he is also responsible for his mother Marceline (51). Desire will receive cataract surgery at CBM partner MICEI.

CBM

A visit to Cameroon to witness an operation that would save a young father’s sight has left one charity worker feeling ‘humbled’.

Rosi Jack made the trip to help highlight the plight of people too poor to access simple cataract surgery that could transform their lives.

The charity she works for, Christian Blind Mission UK, funds medical treatment to help save people’s sight in more than 50 countries around the world.

Rosi, head of communications for CBM in Cambridge, travelled to Cameroon to meet 28-year-old farmer Desire, who was born with a condition that causes bilateral cataracts so she could tell his story to raise awareness of the charity’s work.

She said: “I was allowed to watch the surgery and the following day, when Desire had his bandages removed, it was a very emotional and humbling moment.

“He looked at his fiancee’s face for the first time and broke out onto a huge smile. And then he looked at a sign at the bottom of his bed and said: ‘I can read!’. He seemed completely astonished.”

Rosi accompanied Desire back to his home where he was able to see his four children clearly for the first time. “He wiped a little smear of dirt from one child’s face and did up the button on the shirt of another,” says Rosi. “He wouldn’t have been able to see these details before. Then he was able to join in a game of chasing a balloon with the children. It was amazing to witness.”

Desire’s family had known since he was a child that he needed surgery, but they could not afford the operation, which costs £24.

“When I met Desire he could see very little, which meant he had been forced to give up on his education and his dreams of being a carpenter. He would work on his family’s plot of land but as soon as the sun came up he had to go inside because his condition meant he couldn’t tolerate bright sunlight.”

The success of the operation means he will now be able to farm his land in daylight and join in with the cocoa harvest.

A fundraising concert for CBM called Let There Be Light was held at St Paul’s Church, Hills Road, Cambridge on Saturday (October 20). For more information about the charity’s work, visit CBM.

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