From Geoffrey to you; I may be blind but I can see

Saturday May 23, 2009

I may be blind but I can see…

This past Tuesday was intense. I woke up at 3:15 in the morning in order to leave with a small group of sponsored Tumaini children and a woman from our church to an eye clinic light-years away. At 4 AM we ventured out to Kikoyu (spelling?.. ki-coo-you) and without traffic we arrived at 6:30 and didn’t get home until 8 PM. Every child and person had some sort of eye sight problem, some couldn’t see the board in class, others couldn’t read small print, one little boy said that there were little things in his eyes and kept on rubbing them (allergies) and the woman from our church, Janet, was completely blind.

I met Janet soon after my arrival here. She is a young mother of a B-E-A-UTIFUL baby girl named Annett. Being only 23, she was abandoned by her baby’s father and was left alone to provide for Annett. For a skilled dressmaker like Janet, this wasn’t much of a problem until she became blind six months ago. She went to the best eye clinics and hospitals she was able to but either got ineffective medication or was told that they weren’t capable of fixing the problem for her.

The eye clinic we went to is one of, if not the, best eye clinics in Kenya. After waterfalls of eye drops, multiple “hurry up and sit down” moments, thousands of prods, pokes and glimpses, and what seemed like never-ending list questions the doctors were able to give Janet a diagnosis that none of the other clinics nor hospitals were able to give her. Janet had glaucoma and had three times the normal amount of pressure hellishly built up in her eyes.

With inquisitiveness, eagerness, and suspense Janet asked the question any of us would likely ask, “Can you fix it?” Holding her hand and in the most sincere tone, the doctor said, “You will never be able to see again.” My heart broke. Tears filled her sick eyes, then they began to cascade down her cheeks, and soon they began to flood off the end of her nose and within seconds buried her face in her lap and wept.

The doctor informed us that if she had come this facility at the beginning they could have healed her. Even though she had gone to every doctor and eye clinic in the facility, even though she poured her money, time and resources into this problem none of it mattered because unaware she went to the wrong place. Can you imagine? You lose your eye sight and pour every resource you have into going anywhere you can for help and yet it was all futile; when you finally go to the right place your optic nerves are dead and you are told that you will never see again…. Can you imagine?

Just a year or two ahead of me, Janet had her whole life ahead of her and now spends the majority of her time in her home that is in shambles all because of this miserable disease. Never again will she be able to see the smile of her child. Never again will she gaze into the skies at night and admire the galaxies, planets, and stars above. Never again will she peer into the distance looking at everything and yet nothing, simply taking in all that is around. Never again will she be able to glance down at her daughter and give the grin of a mother that says I am proud and love you and stare into the eyes of her daughter to the point of getting lost in them. Never again will she be able to witness the vibrant and lively colors painted on the Kenya canvass.

If there were ever a situation in which I wished I could empty my pockets to take the pain away from a situation it was here and now. How much will it costs? No amount of money that I can pour into this situation will ever allow Janet to see again. I am seeing one of the most dreadful things, I want to use anything and everything I have to help, but any attempt is pointless and useless. The fear and sorrow of knowing you would never see again, the fact that she will need to be cared for and provided for, the fact that she will never be able to enjoy the things in life that we all take for granted all tore my apart tear me up inside. I can’t even begin to imagine what thoughts, uncertainties, doubts, pains, and distrust must be going through her mind. Being held captive in your home because you have no guide and lack the ability to travel throughout Masii and spending your days sleeping and listening to the radio because as of right now that is all you are able to do make up Janet’s daily life. Since that day she is constantly in my thoughts and prayers. I toss, I turn, and I stir throughout the night thinking and pondering what I can do… and there is nothing except pray.

This is one person that I so earnestly want with all of my being desire to help. If you could have been there this past Tuesday to hear those life crushing words, “you will never be able to see again,” and known how hard she tried to get healed you would understand the tears that I have shed for this woman. I know that life in Masii requires long hours and time-consuming tasks, for this reason I understand that though many people would like to spend their days with Janet they are unable to because of work and life. Because of this each day I have been going to her home. I sit with her and her daughter. Knowing that she used to love to read, I read for her (Chronicles of Narnia right now). I sit and talk with her, listen to her words, hear about her day, and pray with her. Maybe I can’t return her lost eyesight, but I can give her companionship for the next few months and try to show her the love and support I have been blessed with. Sometimes it seems like she is helping me more than I am helping her though.

Have you ever met someone and stood with your jaw hanging to the ground in amazement of their response to their situation? Have you ever been baffled by the amount of faith and hope that someone has had despite their current circumstances? I have. Despite what the doctors have said, the test claim and the build up pressure in her eyes profess, Janet proclaims that God is bigger than this situation and has plans for her life. Of course she desperately wants her eyesight again, but whether she is able to see or remains blind until the day she dies she knows that she can be used and that God is bigger than eyesight.

Jeremiah 29: 11-14
For I know the plans I have for you,” declarers the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”

If you have ever visited a church you have probably heard Jeremiah 29:11, it is a pretty popular verses just like John 3:16. The only problem that I have is that most people don’t write down the rest of it. Yes God has plans for our lives but there is so much more to it then that. There are going to be times when we struggle, times when we want to give up, times when we hurt and are suffering and are in pain there are going to be times in life when we go through a storm when we need more than a promise to keep us going. That is where the next part comes in. “Pray to me and I will listen to you,” the crazy thing is that when you are hurting and when you have pain the tears you shed and cries you wail don’t land on deaf ears. When you cry unto him and search with everything you have… you find him, and when you find him he brings you “back from captivity.” Captivity meaning a place in life when you are forced to constantly endure torment and anguish…. You find him and that pain and torment is gone. Not only does Janet realize that God has plans for her, but in this horrendous storm she has cried out to him and he heard her, she was held captive and was being tormented by her fears, doubts, pains, sorrows from the news the doctor gave her, but that pain is gone. She isn’t worried. She knows that God is going to get her through it. Why can’t I be like this?

Janet is blind but sees more than we do.

Asante Sana,


Prayer Requests:
Janet and her vision
Tumaini Medical center
Funds for different projects for Tumaini

I am sure I mentioned it before… in Kenya if you want to meet someone at one o’clock you have to tell them 11 o’clock.
My water is kept in big ten liter bottles and once I use up the water I have no need for the bottles and EVERYONE wants me bottles… kind of funny.
I have been eating the exact same thing for breakfast lunch and dinner each day… I have tried pretty much everything and found what I like…. Its basically rice and beans and maybe an orange… its good though
A good friend and his wife had a son about two months or so before I came here. I have been able to watch him grow and develop… It is so cool seeing him having more strength and being able to do more than he was able to before. Last night I was with them and thought that it was the coolest thing when he was able to touch his face…
I am going to miss my entourage of kids when I leave

Tuanane Kesho (spelling?)
Two-oh-naw-nay kay-show
I will see you tomorrow

This entry was posted on Saturday, May 23rd, 2009 at 10:25 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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