When we first arrived here in Kwahu Tafo I remarked to BL, my wife, how amazing it is that so few people needed eyeglasses…there were hardly any people including the very old who wore them. It didn’t occur to me, though it should have, that most had never been to an eye doctor. Some I would imagine had hardly been to see any type of doctor other than the herbalist or fetish priestess or priest to cure their myriad ailments. So you can imagine my surprise when we announced that there would be an eye screening at our local clinic. Almost 400 people showed up!
The doctors were screening for eye cataracts. This was thanks to a Swedish Foundation, Bombus, who made a very generous donation to our little town to facilitate this screening and surgeries. Of the 390 or so people screened, 54 needed the cataract surgeries…some bilateral meaning they needed both eyes operated on to remove the cataract.
Many of these people were in their late 70’s to late 80”s…many were scared to death of the concept of surgery in general much less surgery on their eyes. Thanks to a wonderful group of young volunteers their fears were assuaged and, to their great relief, the surgeries were successful. It was heartwarming and beautiful to see the smiles on the people’s faces as the bandages were removed and their vision was as clear as a child’s. There was much joy in Tafo, thank you BOMBUS!
Besides the surgeries over 60 of our town’s people received prescription eyeglasses and another 64 received “readers”. It is truly a joie de vivre to see so many satisfied citizens whose life has been changed through the miracle of getting their sight back.
The eye screening and surgeries took place at our local clinic, St Joseph’s Clinic and Maternity Home, and were performed by a team of doctors from Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi. Hats off to these doctors for a successful job… well done, and thank you St. Jo’s for your cooperation in this most worthy program.
While the screening was going on I had the opportunity to meet several of the people who help run the clinic. One Sister, Sister Nellsie, approached me and asked if I could find a donor who would be willing to sponsor a young woman with severe disabilities, who is very bright, to attend university. The young woman has already been accepted to university but unfortunately our tertiary fund is depleted and there is no money left to sponsor anyone else. If one of you out there would be willing to take this on it is a $500 donation a year for three years please let us know. As a note, many people with disabilities are shunned and women in particular face a hard row in education.
Our mission here in Tafo is Education and Sustainability…at times it seems an uphill battle. We never expected it to be easy, with the help of volunteers here in the town and your generous donations we are slowly but surely conquering these battles. We have a long way to go but with your help we will persevere.
Once again, I thank you for all you have done to make our work here in Tafo a success. We are on a campaign trying to get people to sign up for a $10 a month donation. If you know of anyone who would like to participate in this program please direct him or her to our web site, www.yekoanim.org. and again I thank you for your prayers, donations and good will.
Founder, Executive Director of Yeko Anim