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"When we met the folks at Seva, we knew we were among kindred spirits, joining to bring people together in service to others. Whether preventing blindness in Nepal, assisting native peoples in Guatemala and Mexico, or helping our own Native Americans, Seva has been there to help alleviate suffering and improve people's lives. Long may they rock!"
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MEET: Ram Bahadur Pandley
Age 56, male
Family: his wife, 8 children
(5 daughters and 3 sons)
Seva's eye care team met Mr. Ram Bahadur when he and his wife came to a Seva remote eye camp in the town of Arghakhanchi, Nepal.
Bahadur couldn't see our faces because he had completely lost his eyesight, but he told us his story.
Many years ago, Bahadur explained how he had lost vision in his right eye after an accident while working to make gravel for concrete. He was breaking rocks by hand when a piece fl ew up and injured his eye. His eye got infected and though he went to traditional healers, he did not seek medical care from eye specialists because of his poverty. Eventually the infection worsened and he lost his eye. Had Bahadur simply had access to eye care at that time, a $1.00 bottle of antibiotic drops would have treated his infection.
In the years that followed, Bahadur began to lose vision in his left eye as well, until eventually he went completely blind. He didn't know why his left eye had lost vision and was too poor to afford a visit to an eye doctor.
Bahadur explained that for years he has been completely dependent on his wife and children to guide him by the hand to his food and to the bathroom. Without eyesight, he felt he had become a burden on his family and seemed very sad.
Bahadur's wife heard that Seva was setting up a surgical eye camp near their remote village in Nepal. Filled with hope, she carefully led him by the hand along a rocky mountainside, slowly making the journey to the Seva camp.
Upon arrival, Seva's team of doctors guided Bahadur to an eye chart where his vision was tested. Not only was he unable to see the eye chart, he could not even count the fi ngers of the doctor held just a foot in front of his face. In desperation, Bahadur reached out to try to feel the doctor's hand to count the fi ngers by touch.
It was determined that though he had been blind for years, Seva would be able to restore eyesight to his left eye by removing the mature cataract which had formed and clouded his vision.
That afternoon, thanks to the generosity of Seva donors like you, Bahadur was provided with a free cataract surgery. The simple 15-minute procedure would reverse years of blindness and suffering.
Following the surgery, an eye patch was carefully placed over the eye and it was allowed to heal overnight. Bahadur and his wife spent the night at a friend's home nearby, waiting and hoping for a new life the next day.
In the misty morning light, Bahadur waited quietly for the bandage to be removed. As soon as the patch was removed he was able to see his wife's face! Within about two minutes, he stood up and began walking around on his own, heading over to examine the eye chart that he had been unable to see just the day before.
Bahadur's smile beamed for all to see. But he was not the only one smiling. Bahadur's wife as well was clearly thrilled. Her broad smile showed how relieved and happy she was that both of them had regained their independence and dignity. She told us how grateful she is to not have to lead him everywhere and how proud she is that he will once again be independent.
For over 35 years, Seva has been helping people just like Bahadur. To date, nearly 3.5 million people have had their sight surgically restored, and 1 million are provided with glasses or other eye care services each year around the globe.
Your support not only provides eye care, but also helps to train local eye care professionals and build local capacity so that more people like Bahadur can have access to affordable eye care.
We join Bahadur in saying thank you for your compassion and generosity. Without support from donors like you, none of this work would be possible.