Gordane and Suhura had not been able to see each other for three years after cataracts stole their sight. Thanks to Sightsavers they both had sight-saving cataract surgery, giving them back their independence. And now eight months on, they are living life to the full.
When Sightsavers first met the couple, they struggled to get around, having to navigate around using sticks. “I do miss my wife,” Gordane said.
“There’s a lot I miss,” he added. “I braided mats, I braided beds. There is a mat inside, when you look at it, it looks like it was made by a machine. Now, this sickness has got me and those skills have faded.”
Suhura told us: “I miss going out and spending time with my friends. Sometimes there’s a party, I hear the noise but see no way to go. I think, let me go out and chat, but I can’t see the way there.”
Gordane describes how it felt when his sight first started to deteriorate. “My eyes saw darkness; it filled both my eyes. I said to my wife: ‘I am sick. I am sick in my eyes.’”
“We were wondering: ‘will we get the grace to get cured?’” Suhura asks. “Then we could borrow a piece of land to farm, to plant things, to feed ourselves and not take handouts.”
But thankfully help was available: they were diagnosed with cataracts, and referred for sight-saving surgery. They were once again hopeful for the future. Suhura says: “I hoped to be able to see my husband, who I missed seeing and I couldn’t wait to kiss him!”
But when they arrived at hospital for their operations, they received bad news. Suhura’s surgery could go ahead, but Gordane was diagnosed with malaria so his would need to be postponed. But he was there the next day to greet his wife after her surgery.
When her bandages were removed, she was led down a corridor to meet her husband, and they embraced straight away. “I can see, husband!” She exclaimed. Gordane broke into song, dancing with his wife in the middle of the hospital waiting area as the health workers clapped along, smiling.
Outside the hospital, Suhura touched Gordane’s beard. “I’ll make him take this beard off; I don’t like looking at it. I want him to look young, you see!’”
One week later, Gordane had recovered enough from malaria to have his cataract operation. After his bandage was removed, he was able to see again for the first time in years, and he shook the health workers’ hands in gratitude.
Eight months on, Sightsavers visited the couple again and received a very happy welcome.
Gordane couldn’t wait to show the team the mat he had been carefully working on. And Suhura is enjoying socialising with her family again – some of Suhura’s relatives joined us in a joyful dance!
“I am very happy to see again! I can now do all the things around the house that I couldn’t do before, and also support Gordane in the field,” Suhura tells us. “I love taking care of Gordane. We have planted a few crops around the house (cassava and maize) and we have also been able to start farming maize, cassava, peanuts and beans in a field about 20km away.”
Gordane adds: “I feel like we have been reborn now that we can see again! In our free time we love to sing and dance. When Suhura had her sight back, she started cutting my hair and beard again! She also joins me in the field to cut grass for the roof of the house. I feel young again and I can now do all the things I used to be able to do before. We are so happy that you visited! Thank you so much!”