“I cannot wait to see the world again”

Lucia is 85. She has no children and has been widowed since her husband passed away in 1982. For two months Lucia has been completely blind. Unable to do the job she loves and live her life independently. That is until she embarked on a 120km journey across Zambia to get the life changing treatment she needed.

Here is Lucia’s story.

“My eyesight started failing a long time ago, but it had become worse in the last two months. I can’t see. I rely on Martha, my sister’s daughter in-law, to get around at home. She was kind enough to bring me to the hospital.”

Lucia lives on the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo. With no primary eye care services available in her community, Lucia’s family were advised to make the 120km journey to Solwezi General Hospital, an Orbis partner hospital, for treatment.

The Impact of Losing Her Sight

Before Lucia lost her sight, she had been busy working as a farmer. She proudly spent her days in the corn field providing corn meal for Nshima, a type of porridge and a staple food for all Zambians. For Lucia, tending to her corn had been the most important part of her life.

Now she had become fully dependent on Martha, her caregiver, to guide her around, feed her, and assist with her daily needs.

“I’m not happy being a blind woman. I used to see for myself. I used to do my daily activities, but now I can't see. My heart is troubled for losing my sight.”

The Hope of Life-Changing Surgery

Lucia and her caregiver, Martha, arrive at Solwezi General Hospital

At the hospital Lucia was quickly diagnosed with cataracts in both eyes. Due to the distance she had travelled it was decided she should have both eyes operated on straight away. This gave Lucia hope that she could soon get her life back.

“When I regain my sight, I'll be very happy because I'll come out from darkness. I will be in the light again. All I want to do is cultivate my crops and start cooking again.”

Lucia’s operation was performed by Orbis trained cataract surgeon, Mr. Chenga Oliver. The only cataract surgeon in Solwezi district, and one of only two cataract surgeons in the entire northwest province of Zambia.

The operation was a success!

The following day, after the bandages over Lucia’s eyes were removed, she danced in celebration. Her sight had been restored.

“For so long there was only darkness. I cannot wait to see the world again.”

See the incredible moment Lucia sees again

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