Trachoma patient Asegedech, wearing a pink checked shirt, is hugged by Integrated Eye Care worker Tsehay

A face filled with tears

May 2018

For two long years, tears replaced the smile that should have lit up Asegedech’s face.Some nine million of Ethiopia’s 21 million trachoma victims are kids like Asegedech.

Some nine million of Ethiopia’s 21 million trachoma victims are kids like Asegedech. Trachoma roughens the inside of their eyelids, so every blink feels like sandpaper causing sufferers to weep in pain. Instead of bringing her daughter to the doctor, Asegedech’s superstitious Mum turned to traditional healers for cure - merely causing the girl’s condition to worsen. With tears flowing down her cheeks in a seemingly endless stream, Asegedech thought she was doomed to cry for the rest of her life.

Light is closer than one thinks!

Trachoma patient Asegedech, wearing a pink checked shirt, is hugged by Integrated Eye Care worker Tsehay

While disease may harm, love possesses the power to cure! Orbis has now been providing  large-scale eye care services in Africa for over a decade so while our two African children’s stories may sound miserable, they do have happy endings! Last year, Asegedech met Tsehay, an Orbis- trained public nurse, who healed her trachoma and mercifully freed her from a lifetime of uncontrollable tears.

Trachoma is a very painful and infectious eye disease that tortures countless Ethiopian women and kids. Happily, Orbis has helped by pioneering the provision of early stage eye care services in remote areas where there are few ophthalmologists. As an Orbis trainee supported by their medical and technical resources, I am genuinely humbled to be able to help save such rural patients’ sight.

Tsehay