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The New Year

I have gathered strength from family and friends over the festive season, and am ready for the new year.  It’s not going to be easy.  We have much less funds, and I totally understand.  With the past two year’s international financial crisis, we all perhaps have less to give; and this ultimately boils down to affecting Nkhoma Eye Hospital.  Our goal will stay the same.  To aim to tackle poverty by eradicating avoidable blindness, with our work in central Malawi.  Make no mistake, we will find under-served and impoverished and blind people; and we will serve them.  We will try our very  best as the team in Malawi to make this happen, in spite of the reduced funds; and we will do it.  But I have to say it makes me a bit sad that all this will slow down a little.

It takes me 7-10 minutes to do a cataract op.  It costs, in the general scheme of things, £20 for each op.  It doesn’t cost Mr Efuloni or Mrs Limon a penny.  Wow, they don’t work and have less than 50p to pay for the surgery!  It costs me nothing, it’s just my job, mime and the teams work.  The costs are for the staff salaries, medicines, surgical supplies.

I think the point of my ramblings are that for Mr Efuloni or Mrs Limon, that 10 minutes or that £20 will utterly have changed their lives.  Make no mistake.  Sitting here in the Western World for the next week before I return to Africa has kinda highlighted what we, all of us, do together at Nkhoma.  We send teams to reach out to far villages.  We screen the blind villagers who have been holed up in their huts for years, unable to function in their communities, as they once did.  We treat them with the respect and dignity that they deserve, and ultimately we restore their sight.

Yes, this is what we do.  Over 4,000 cataract operations, each year.  The staff at Nkhoma are amazing, an amazing team dedicated to their fellow people in helping them regain vision.

I am incredibly lucky to be a part of this.  But I will be very sad when I return to Malawi.  To have to tell the staff that we have to slow down.  We have to go in to fewer villages, and see fewer people, and do fewer operation; because the money is not there.  It kinda breaks my heart.

Finally, I can’t express my gratitude more strongly, than saying a huge thanks to all CBM donors for making it possible to do near 27,000 cataract operations in the past 10 years at Nkhoma.  We hope this year to push it to 30,000.  30,000 people who were blind, but now can see.  Village life with no electricity or water is hard enough; but if you cannot see the well, or your grandchildren; my guess is it’s a lot harder.

Thank you all, and all the very best for 2010

We’ll keep in touch


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