Thursday, 9 September 2010


Lorna with head covered 
Wednesday morning, Sept. 1, three of the old widows - Lorna, Peres and Catherine - went into hospital for cataract surgery.  We had 4, but one got sick and couldn't make it.  They are in the Provincial Hospital and once again we have come upon something that we just wouldn't even think about - in our wildest imagination - in terms of culture.  We had some extra expenses that morning.  Violet, the pastor's wife, had to stop and get Lorna some slippers (flip-flops).  Lorna was barefoot - she doesn't own any shoes.  Violet didn't want her to have to walk to the bathroom in bare feet. (Hesbone said he has never seen Lorna with shoes.) Also, Violet had to buy 3 cups, 3 plates and 3 spoons so that the ladies could eat. One "younger" widow went along to help Violet and the ladies.  She had to take them to the toilet several times.  Most likely these women were very nervous and probably had never been to a hospital before.  They couldn't see to get to the toilet by themselves.  Lorna had to cover her head and just look out of a hole because the light hurt her eyes so badly.  Here is her photo with the patch just after surgery and then the one the day she went home.
We did incur some extra expenses - as happens. There were some added medicines and also other hospital fees that hadn't been factored in.

Two extra bonuses are:1. that the doctor assigned to the clinic is actually from Kadawa; 2. There is a one-year waiting list for cataract and other eye surgery- these surgeries are being done immediately.  Praise the Lord!


On Friday, Sept. 3, we went to get the widows from the hospital after having their cataract surgery.  What happy ladies they are.  Marty cried a whole lot (again).  When we came in and the one old dear saw us she just hugged Marty and kept saying over and over "Erokamano, erokamano, erokamano....." (Thank you, thank you, thank you....)  As we said,  all had to be helped to the bathroom when they got there on Wed.  But while we were there today, Old Lorna got up, took her stick, and walked herself to the bathroom.  She thanked God and thanked us.  Although she has two cataracts the doctor won't operate on the other eye.  She was greatly abused by her husband, and it seems that he must have blinded her in the other eye.  So the restoration of her sight is ever so precious to her.  John stood next to Hesbone and had him ask Lorna if she could see which one was the "mzungu" (white man). (Lorna only speaks Luo.)  She said, of course she could.  She pointed to Hesbone and said you're the black man and then to John and said you're the white man!  Then we all had a good laugh, including Lorna!  We took her photo and it is the very first time we've ever seen her smile.  Other than when she came to get a new dress last year, we have only seen Lorna in church once – and then she introduced herself to the congregation as a visitor (as they do).  Well, today she said she can hardly wait for Sunday so she can go to church.  We are pretty certain that she will tell the whole church what the Lord has done for her.   Lorna is in her 80s.  She may die soon.  But she will die with much more dignity and she will die seeing once again. When I asked Peres if she was afraid before the surgery she said - no, not at all.  She said that she knew that only God could have put it on our hearts and minds to think about the widows and to have an eye clinic.  She said that since she knew He did that she also knew He was making this operation possible and was there with her - therefore, she wasn't the least bit afraid. It was a wonderful event!  We never did see them leave.  It isn't easy getting someone out of a hospital here.  They don't move anyplace until every shilling is paid.  They kept having Violet running all over the grounds.  She had to go get prescriptions, then had to have them filled, then had to get medical summaries from the doctor.  While waiting for all of this, the ladies got all ready to leave and were perched on their beds.  After a bit a nurse or orderly came in and told us that the old ladies said they didn't want to go home until they had had their meal.  (You see, they have so little to eat at home, and also it is a wonderful treat for them to have food prepared and served to them.)  So we all had a laugh over that and John and I left with Hesbone - leaving Violet to deal with it all.  We got another call later that there were some other expenses that hadn't be communicated to us and we had to work that out.  We will make arrangements for next week to have little Mary's eye repaired - she has a corneal adhesion.  Some of the people will only required prescription eye glasses.  We have realized that some of the children will be able to improve their school work because they couldn't see well to learn and do their work.  One little boy came to town with his dad - one of the pastors at RCC - to have further examination and get a prescription for glasses.  It may have been the first time, or surely was one of the few times he has ever been to town and you could tell that he was a bit afraid (although he wasn't about to show it).

Next week little Mary will receive surgery for a congenital corneal adhesion; the doctor said that we got her just in time - if she went past this year she would be blind for life in her one eye.  We will also do Dancan who has never been to school because of his eye condition - he's 11 years old.  In addition we plan two or three more cataract surgeries for widows.
The news is spreading fast about the ladies and people are approaching Hesbone asking for another eye clinic.  We won't be holding one for awhile - not until we have raised enough funds to pay for the rest of the operations.  

Here is another cultural gem!  Hesbone was telling us of the great difficulties one of the ladies had in building a new house in the village.  She is a widow!  She is a retired nurse and has lived in town for many years, but she wanted a house on her land in the village.  She had all of the materials, but couldn't get anyone to do it.  Here is why:  since she is a widow, and hasn't been inherited, whoever digs the first hole to put in an upright pole to build her house becomes her husband!!!  So not one man would be the first to start building her house.  She was desperate and went to Hesbone, as her pastor, and told him of her plight.  He made the arrangements for the "fundis" (skilled workers) to go to the site. Then he told them she needed her house and he was going to confront and deal with this cultural issue himself - he then dug the first hole!  He let them know that she isn't his wife and he hasn't inherited her.  Once the  hole was dug, the men got on with it and built her house.  That was the end of the whole thing!
We will be building another widow's house this week - it appears there will be no issue about digging the first hole (hopefully)!

Be Blessed,

John & Marty

1 comment:

  1. This was so wonderful to read. Thank you for sharing that the Lord has done great things!!! I love you both. Blessings to you and Hesbone and Violet...