Beloved New Region

Beloved New Region

The region of Elavagnon is the biggest challenge Sight.org has ever faced.

This entire year, we will be serving this region through eye surgeries and ministry. This area is poorer than any region Sight.org has ever served, and the Ministry of Health in Togo believes there are thousands of people in this region that are blind as a result of cataracts.

This region has zero access to eye care, and from what we have seen; the people living in this region are in worse conditions than any population we have ever served.

Elavagnon, Togo

This week, our medical team will be giving sight to 60 people in this region.

 

Elavagnon, Togo

Last month, 50 people in this region received their sight back.

Nine year old Faritte was one of the patients in these surgeries.

When he was three months old, he was hit in the eye with a stick. This caused an immediate cataract. He has not been able to see in his left eye since that day. Because of our mobile eye clinic, he is now able to see again. The photos below are from the day of surgery and a week later. We will check on him again in a few weeks to make sure his sight continues to improve.

Faritte

 

After our first round of surgeries, our ministry team started building relationships with the patients and their families and neighbors. Through these new relationships, 75 people put their faith in Jesus.

Ministry

Our ministry team is now working to start a new house church in this village.

If you would like to know more about this process, read our blog about our last house church.

At the beginning of this year, we asked you to pray specifically for this region. We are already seeing God move. Thank you for pouring your heart prayers into a village that you have never even heard of. God is so good.

Meet Koassi

Meet Koassi

He is 55 years old. He worked as a road builder, but when he developed a cataract in his right eye 3 years ago, he was no longer able to drive a car.

picture1

He knew that he was about to get fired from his job because of his visual impairment and was desperate for help. He came to SIght.org’s mobile eye clinic and can now see.

He wants to say thank you to all the supporters of Sight.org who made his eye surgery possible. He is now able to go back to work and support his family.

You can give sight to someone like Koassi for $12.50 a month or a one time donation of $150. Donate at https://sight.org/donate/

Sight.org Visits Grace Vision

Sight.org Visits Grace Vision

Sight.org’s founder, Lewis Swann and his wife Naomi Swann went to South Africa last month to observe another eye care ministry called Grace Vision. Sight.org is always looking for ways to learn and become a better ministry. We are thankful that we had this opportunity to learn from Grace Vision. This video highlights their trip.

Grace Vision is an awesome medical ministry very similar to Sight.org. Like Sight.org, they are bringing eye care and the gospel to the Eastern Cape of South Africa. We have a lot to learn from each other!

 

httpsss://vimeo.com/204406180

ETMC Nurse in Togo, Africa

ETMC Nurse in Togo, Africa

“Yovo yovo, bonsior, ça va bien, merci!” The little Togolese children would chant their greeting as they waved at me as I entered their village. They were all too delighted to alert their friends and family to the rarity of seeing a pale-faced foreigner such as myself in their land. “Bonjour, Ma Ma!” they would say. “Bonjour!” I would reply and wave to the children and adults alike who would crowd around to see the “Yovo” or “foreigner” who had come to their village. Soon enough, the children would crowd around me, begging me to listen to their heart with my stethoscope, or waiting for the chance to stroke my pale skin.

Sight.org

Sight.org

In August, I had the opportunity to serve with Sight.org in Togo, Africa, as a nurse. Sight.org is a ministry based out of Tyler, Texas, that performs cataract as well as pterygium surgeries for the people of Togo. Over 80,000 people in Togo, young and old alike, suffer from blindness that cataracts or pterygium cause due to sun exposure. In a country where over half the population lives on $1.25 a day and running water and air conditioning are fantasies that most only hear about, the idea of receiving a life-changing surgery to correct their blindness, free of cost, is unbelievable. What could possibly provide a clean and sterile environment for performing these surgeries? An ambulance donated by East Texas Medical Center.

Sight.org

Sight.org

Seeing the familiar green ambulance parked on the outskirts of a small town in Togo gave me so much pride to work for a hospital such as ETMC. Over the course of three days, I was overwhelmed to help guide 60+ blind patients enter and exit the ambulance to receive their sight again. A Togolese eye surgeon, Dr. Nestor Avia, welcomed me in to the ambulance to observe eye surgeries my second day in Togo. It was not uncommon for Dr. Avia to kneel down beside the stretcher of a patient in order to calm their fears of the surgery looming before them. Tenderly, Dr. Avia would perform the surgery while reassuring the patients, in their own language, that all was going well.

Sight.org

Sight.org

While helping in pre-op, I got to meet and talk to the patients via a translator. I met Yawa, a 70-year old-woman who said she could not remember how many years it had been since she had last had full sight. All of her family members in her village had died due to sickness. She had lived on her own for six years. Komlan was a 65-year-old man who was looking forward to farming again. He could barely see and walked around with a cane. He said that “farming will be much easier” after the surgery. Masalou had not been able to see for the past seventeen years. The 69-year-old lady told me that she was not afraid of her upcoming surgery. She was ready to be able to cook, bathe, and eat on her own so her family did not have to help her. Not all the patients were elderly, however. Enyonam was a 35-year-old woman suffering from pterygium. She explained to me how painful it was to endure the discomfort in her eyes during her daily tasks. She said she felt shameful because she did not feel beautiful when people looked at her.

Sight.org

Sight.org

After surgery, the patients wore patches over their eyes until the next day when they returned to have them removed. The patients eagerly waited hours before the appointed post-op time. Upon removal of the eye-patches, patients would blink their eyes in disbelief at having their sight again. I would see many smile for the first time since I had met them. Others wept. One patient exclaimed, “I see a Yovo!” upon seeing me standing before her. Another woman kept whispering, “Merci, Jesus. Merci,” as tears rolled down her face. One man who was a teacher said, “I don’t have to lose my job now!” Often times the patients would dance or throw their cane into bushes to celebrate the gift of sight that they had been given.

Sight.org

When not helping with surgeries, I was able to travel to villages with the Sight.org team and meet all the medical needs that we could. Often times, the villages would be so remote that the only “road” to get there would be a trail not even a foot wide.

Sight.org

It was not uncommon for there to be no well for the villagers to drink clean water from. Once a village heard that a nurse was coming to their village, it was certain that I could expect a crowd upon arrival. Many children and adults had malaria and dysentery. Other villagers would present their infected wounds to me to clean and bandage. One woman came to me with a soiled cloth around her foot. Upon removal, she explained to me that she had burned her whole foot about a month ago when hot oil spilled on it. At one particular village, the villagers informed me that soap was too expensive for them to afford. One child about nine years old crawled around on swollen knees due to one of her legs being deformed since she was two years old. After traveling to a bigger city in Togo, I was able to return to the same village with a $22 pair of crutches for the little girl named Canditt. I taught Canditt how to walk again with crutches.

Sight.org

Sight.org

Sight.org

Sight.org

In a country like Togo, it is incredible to see how so little can help so much, like soap, $22 dollars, and a donated ambulance. The health needs of the Togolese people are astounding. It was a privilege to use the skills that ETMC has cultivated and taught me as a nurse to help others in such an impoverished country. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to serve with this amazing ministry.

Sight.org

Sight.org

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