I have just returned from spending a week at a very special place in deed. Zithulele hospital in the transkei (about 1.5 hours from Umtata) is your average government hospital in a rural setting only it is FAR from average due to the staff that work diilgently, tirelessly and passionately to change rural people’s lives on every level of functioning.
I had the privilege of performing scleral tunnel surgery to remove cataracts from folk who were “blind” due to the cataract and allow them to “see” again. This is one of the most amazing gifts that I have been bestowed – the ability to do this surgery.
To see their smiling faces day one post-op is a sight that I never grow accustomed to – it “overflows” my happiness well every time.
The mercy vision team at large is incredibly passionate at what they are doing for a population previously forgotten. The whole experience costs the patients nothing. They get transported from home to Zithulele, fed for the time they are there and then transported back to their home. For a rural dwelling person the blessing of this is not something that a privileged person can understand, for them it is truly a huge blessing and life changing.
Their other alternative is to pay (about R400 one way) to Umtata and have a few trips like this before their surgery is scheduled. This is something most of them simply can not afford and so they just accept the blindness.