Every $25 of your donation will provide $200 worth of sight-saving Zithromax medicine to prevent 42 people going blind from agonising Trachoma.
77 year old Isiko lives in a small mud brick hut in rural Africa with his wife Florence and their younger children. It’s clear as soon as you meet him that his eyes have been badly affected by Trachoma; he keeps his watery right eye closed all the time. Trachoma has caused Isiko’s eyelashes to turn inwards and every time he blinks they scratch against his eye. Over months and years, Isiko’s eyelashes have scratched the cornea and, if this continues, he will eventually become completely blind. At that point, there will be nothing anyone can do. Isiko will be blind forever.
A daily struggle to survive
Like most people in poor and rural Africa, Isiko grows some maize and cassava (a root vegetable) on the small piece of land where he lives. He used to earn some money selling chickens and working on other people’s land, but now he struggles to work because his eyesight is so poor.
Isiko’s wife, Florence, hopes that he will be able to have surgery. Then they will both be able to work to support their family and Isiko will finally be able to see and to be free from pain. Florence has to stay home with Isiko and make sure he doesn’t hurt himself because of his poor sight. “I have to be there with him, look after him.” Isiko cannot even manage to walk to church by himself.
Despite this constant pain and worry, Isiko’s biggest heartbreak isn’t for his own suffering; it’s for the suffering of his children. Isiko is a loving father of 7 children and, now that he struggles to work, he’s struggling to pay for the education of his younger children. Isiko didn’t have the opportunity to go to school, but he knows how crucial it is if his children are to have any hope of escaping the life-long and grinding poverty that he has endured. “I pray that things will be different for them’, he says. “If a child is educated and employed, they will be able to work and build their own homes.”
Only urgent surgery can save Isiko’s sight
Isiko’s eye condition has been left untreated and is at an advanced stage; the rubbing of the eye lashes has already injured his cornea and, if that is left much longer, he will become totally blind. A simple operation is all that is needed to reverse Isiko’s eyelids, stopping the agonizing rubbing on his cornea, allowing his eye to heal and enabling him to see and work again.
Every dollar you give will be matched with $8 worth of sight-saving Trachoma medication generously donated by healthcare company Pfizer.
Faith in a healing God
I find Isiko’s ability to keep praying inspirational when I think of everything he has suffered. But we know our God in Heaven is a loving and faithful Lord, who has a great and good plan for each of our lives.
Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise. Jeremiah 17:14
Blinding Trachoma is infectious and spreads quickly through contact with the eye discharge of infected people, via unwashed hands, towels, clothes or eye-seeking flies. Trachoma thrives in areas of poor sanitation and where people have limited access to water, like in Isiko’s rural community. It’s no wonder that Isiko has lived with this agony and fear of blindness for five years. And medical treatment is difficult to access when you live in poverty in a remote community.
This Christmas, we have the chance to be a living demonstration of God’s love and saving power in the lives of the poorest of the poor in West Africa. You can save somebody like Isiko from a life of blindness. Please prayerfully consider what donation you could make today to help bring the miracle of sight and freedom from pain to someone like Isiko.