Eyes on Nigeria

August 13, 2013

There was a swirl of bright, vivid colors as our Iowa team entered the UMC Hospital grounds in Bambur. Three hundred people were milling around waiting for the eye clinic to start. Being led by family members, blind persons inched their way to the porch.  Some used canes to get themselves positioned for the opening devotion and prayers offered by the Sunday Solomon, Conference Medical Director.

Within a few minutes John Jako, Eye Centre Director, had lines formed for patients to be seen by the eye medical staff.  Under large trees nurses with the eye charts were standing holding up the chart to be read by the patient.  When the patient was unable to recognize the alphabet, a chart with symbols was used and the patient waved their hand in the direction of the symbol.  If the chart could not be seen, the nurse moved toward the patient and held up fingers to be counted, if fingers couldn’t be seen, then she moved her hand in a sweeping motion and if the patient could not see it, a light was beamed onto the eye. This was all noted on a paper handed to each  patient.  Long lines snaked around hospital grounds as each patient had to be checked at the eye chart station to determine their eye care needs.  These Nigerians stood in line patiently and quietly,,in hot, humid weather for many hours.

One young man that was seen had a blue round spot in his eye.  Because of this people made fun of him commenting on this unusual eye coloring.  The blue spot was actually a cataract that covered his pupil so he was placed on the surgical list to have the cataract removed for cosmetic reasons.  He was thrilled to be able to have normal colored eyes!

United Methodist Iowans may take pride in being part of this annual Eye Camp through donations made from churches to support the week long event.  Thank you, Iowans, for bringing sight to the blind!