Keith R. Brinkman serving with Mercy Ships. This is another way for me to communicate with you all what is happening. I hope you enjoy seeing the photos and entries.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Hopes Comes - Blind See

Below was written by my friend Glenn and Kim Strauss and I wish to share with you all also.  I met some of the children mentioned at our screening on Tuesday morning.  Great to hear has hope and healing has come.

"Now, as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, " Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him." John 9:1-3

To all Mothers,

Imagine having 6 children. For some of you, that was 2 children ago; for others, it's just overwhelming to think about! But in Africa, eight is a rather small family. The family I want to tell you about is unique. As farmers, they had children so they could work their farm (not unusual here OR abroad just for survival), but something went wrong. Five.....yes....FIVE of them were born with cataracts! Five of them---are blind! We were all stunned to find a family with so many children blind! Unbelievable!

Allow me to introduce you to the family. Momma (and Pappa, of course) are poor farmers.

Adjo is the oldest, about 16 years old (although the parents are not sure), and born with cataracts, but could see minimally at least in her younger years. She is obviously the "mother" of the children and tries to watch out for the others (although being blind made this tough!).

Kokou and Kossi are 11. We thought these boys are twins, but turns out they are cousins! BOTH were born blind.. and in the same family.

Komi is probably 7 (momma thinks he is 5), and shy, but loves to be teased even though he can only see light.

Yawa is 6, quiet and a fearful girl who just sits quietly in her own darkness due to the cataracts.

Abba is a 6 month old girl and the only seeing child in this family! Spends most of her time being carried on momma's back.

For 16 years, Momma has been taking care of her blind children. Now, they have come, afraid, unsure and ashamed of their own poverty, asking for hope. Glenn and Dr. Wodome examined them and discussed their prognosis. You see, children born with cataracts must be operated on BEFORE they are 7 to have a good result, because by then the brain will "not turn the eyes on" anymore after having so many years of no visual stimulation. But......they decided to do them ALL! 10 eyes! There was enough evidence that their eyes were working on some level all this there was a chance! There was hope.

Surgery went well. We unpatched each child and watched. Kokou, the cousin, was first. I showed him a book and pointed to a tiny bee. Kokou looked with his new eyes and exclaimed," It's a bee!" He was now excited about the possibility of finally going to school! Yawa, so quiet, was next. She showed no signs of seeing at first, but suddenly her baby sister dropped her toy. And to our surprise, Yawa quickly retrieved it and handed it back! She COULD see! Now it was Kossi's turn.. He's the artist! He could see colors and delighted in coloring the day before surgery, but held his paper an inch away and to one side to see. After unpatching, I held out a red crayon. He perked up, took the color and began furiously coloring a new picture...this time, on his lap! He was so happy! Then came Adjo. She had had a lot of pain, because she is older, and her eyes were swollen. But, she seemed so pleased with her sight. Her brother, Komi, looked all around intently. He seemed confused. I tested his sight, and he was seeing double! When I covered his left eye, he then brightened and saw clearly (this should clear up in time)!
Momma now confessed to our translator that she was overwhelmed and worried she would not be able to control them...especially the boys! Ha! Poor mother. Don't we all feel that way as our boys get older! (much less all suddenly being able to see!)

A week later, they all came back for their checkup. What a change! (Take a look a the pictures to see the difference). Adjo RAN up to me and flung herself into me for a big hug! She looked beautiful! All dressed up and walking confidently on her own! She was now determined and independent. The older boys jibber-jabbered together all the way up and down the stairs hardly paying attention, as if they had done this all their lives! Yawa was still quiet but still taking charge of Abba. And Komi had adapted to one eye, and was smiling and joking around for all the cameras! They not only received their sight, but now their personalities really came to life!

And Momma? She was all dressed up, proud and ready to show off her 'new" children!

Hope had come.  Happy Mother's Day!