If you had met seven-year-old Ester before she received sight-restoring surgery you’d notice the defiant rise to her chin and the hard, direct stare into your eyes. As if she were showing you that she could do anything.
When Ester was small her parents separated and soon after that her mother remarried. The new husband didn’t want children coming along with his new bride. Ester’s father couldn’t take care of her either because it’s considered culturally inappropriate for a single man to live alone with a little girl – even his own daughter. So, she went to her grandmother.
Like many children, the energetic girl was excited about starting school and making new friends. And then a terrible thing happened. “I was with my friends and we were swinging. Someone pushed me and I fell down and there was a stick on the ground that hit my eye,” shared Ester. The pain was unbearable and the amount of blood was scary. So, her friends had to lead her home. After cleaning Ester’s wound, her grandmother didn’t know what else to do for her.
A traumatic cataract developed in Ester’s eye. When she returned to school it was painful for her to even look at the blackboard. She could barely see. Despite her poor vision, she’d clearly and boldly state that her favourite subjects were “reading” and “writing”. But the truth was, Ester never really learned how to read or write. And after she developed a cataract, it was next to impossible.
If you asked Ester if her injury was causing her any problems, she’d defiantly tell you “no”. But that wasn’t true either. Any light made her squint from the pain. Her home was a small, one-room cement building, with no electricity or indoor plumbing. Even the soft light from a kerosene lamp was painful for her. She couldn’t make it to the toilet on her own at night… so she used a bucket inside the home. And as if Ester’s life wasn’t tough enough… it became even more difficult when her grandmother became ill and was unable to care for her.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Fortunately, Ester’s Aunt Edina came to her rescue and took her in. Out of fear of being perceived as useless or damaged, Ester hid her blindness from her aunt. That’s why Edina was so surprised when the teacher at Ester’s school came to visit and informed her of Ester’s injury. But Edina didn’t respond the way Ester thought she would. Instead, her aunt found a way to take her to a cbm-partner hospital. At the hospital Edina learned that there’s a kind person in Canada who cares about her niece. Ester’s sight-restoring surgery would be paid for!
Full of anticipation, joy and obvious nervousness, Ester and Edina were able to go to the hospital because cbm donors also paid for their transportation. In the hospital ward that was shared with a dozen other patients, the little girl and her aunt curled up on the twin bed for the night. On the morning of her surgery, the pair read the Bible to calm their nerves. Then when the time was ready, Ester said her good-byes to her Aunt Edina before being led into the operating room.
After surgery Ester and Edina spent one more night on the twin hospital bed…Ester with a patch on her eye. The next morning—as the sun rose high in the sky— Ester’s new life was about to begin. The nurse removed the bandage over Ester’s eye. And Ester could see for the first time in over a year! That’s when a new Ester slowly emerged.
Her bright smile now greets anyone who glances at her. She laughs with delight at anything she and her newly-made friend on the ward find remotely funny. When asked how her life will be different, Ester stated with breathless joy and enthusiasm, “I can go to school to study well. I’ve been healed!” A whole new adventure is waiting for Ester—and thanks to donors like you—she can start it with clear sight and a bright smile.