Will grandmother Salomé See the Way to a brighter future?
This week, Cambridge-based overseas disability charity CBM is inviting the public to follow one grandmother’s life-changing story live from Rwanda as she undergoes sight-saving surgery to remove her cataracts.
For two years Salomé has been blind due to cataracts, which have robbed her of vision, leaving her isolated, struggling to care for her grandchildren and unable to read her precious bible.
But during the week of April 29 this grandmother’s life – and the lives of her daughter and grandchildren – could change forever after cataract surgery at CBM’s partner hospital in Rwanda.
CBM will be sharing Salomé’s story through daily social media and email updates, photos and film clips on CBM UK’s Facebook page www.facebook/cbmuk.org and by signing up to receive email updates at www.cbmuk.org.uk/salome .
It will be a nerve-racking journey, with everyone praying for her sight to be restored. Witnessing the moment that each bandage is slowly removed, revealing if Salomé is able to see again will be extraordinary for viewers following from around the world.
Time after time Salomé has tried to get treatment and has been praying constantly for a miracle. Cataracts can be removed with straightforward surgery but Salomé has been unable to make the long journey to the nearest hospital that can operate. The cost of the bus fare is more than she and her daughter could afford.
Eudosie, Salomé’s daughter says: “I am either paid 600 Rwandan francs (50p) or given food in exchange for work – if I get beans we eat just beans, so our life is just about survival and avoiding death.
“We tried to seek treatment but it’s too far away and we can’t afford it. My mother used to be able to cook whilst I was at work. She would have the house clean and the children fed. There were no problems but now the burden is all on me.”
While Eudosie goes out to work to earn vital income to feed the family, Salomé looks after the youngest grandchildren. But she struggles to care properly for two young children when she can’t see them.
“My daughter goes out for work and I stay with her children; they can see me but I can’t do anything for them. All I can do is put the little one on my back when they want to sleep. I can’t even see light so I can’t even make a fire to cook.”
Salomé still has a ready smile and does her best to look after her grandchildren and support her daughter. But being unable to see has left her feeling isolated.
Her one consolation is the radio – particularly the songs and prayers on her favourite Christian station called Radio Maria.
CBM UK’s Rosi Jack is flying to Rwanda to report live on Salomé’s journey to sight: “It’s shocking to think that people like Salomé, living in remote, rural communities in Rwanda, are needlessly blind because they cannot access a straightforward operation to restore their sight. But thanks to CBM supporters, in a matter of days she will finally be able to access the treatment she needs to see again, after two years.
“It’s a huge privilege for me to have the chance to be part of this life-changing week for Salomé and her family, and a wonderful chance to show our supporters in the UK the daily challenges that Salomé has faced because of her blindness, but also the huge difference that cataract surgery can make for an individual and their whole family.
“I’ll be sharing daily updates from Rwanda and also will be sharing the prayers and messages of support from people in the UK with Salomé. I hope you’ll join me to be part of this amazing week, to see how your support can transform lives.”
Salomé’s journey is featured during CBM’s See the Way appeal, where the UK government will double all public donations until May 14, 2019.
Public donations will support CBM’s work preventing blindness and transforming lives wherever the need is greatest. Match funding from the UK government will improve access to sight-saving eye-health services in Rwanda.
• To donate or find out more, visit www.SeeTheWay.org