February 11, 2015 Kari Gran
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A WONDERWORK LETTER FROM TANZANIA

$35 to restore eyesight, yep, it’s true.  Read on.

Keeping in the theme of our “be kind” our pick for February, we wanted to give you a peek at an update letters we’ve received from Brian Mullaney, one of the founders of WonderWork.  We think you’ll see why we are such big fans of this organization and ​for every dollar you spend, we contribute to the cause.

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The only thing better than watching a blind adult open their eyes and see… is to watch a blind child open their eyes and see.  Especially when they’ve been blind since birth – watching a baby see their mom for the first time can send chills down your spine.  See for yourself.

Operating on a blind child is a little more complicated than operating on a blind adult. It takes 15 minutes versus 5 minutes and it costs $300 versus $35. But the same surgery that saves a 60-year-old from 10 years of blindness can save a 2-year-old from 68 years of blindness.We flew into Tanzania at 3:00am this morning and just a few hours later, we arrive at our WonderWork partner hospital where the hallways are already crowded with blind children and their moms and dads.  They have come from all over Tanzania, hoping to receive free surgery because none of them could ever afford it. Just like Ethiopia, all of these people are extremely poor and illiterate. This is their only chance to save their child’s eyesight.

You can see in the faces of the mothers and the fathers just how painful it is to have a child who is blind. And you can see how nervous and anxious they are that their child will be chosen to receive surgery. Please note the Maasai mom who has traveled hundreds of kilometers with her blind baby to reach this hospital.

We interviewed [a nurse] in between bandage removals, and she told us, “I love my job. Every day, I get to help make miracles happen for poor children. When we restore their eyesight, it gives them hope. It gives me hope!” I must say it gave our tired team hope too.  We were very energized and inspired watching these bandages come off one child after another, one miracle after another.

As you will see from the photos that blind children react very differently than blind adults. Children don’t dance and sing. They stare – in total and complete disbelief.  Most are completely stunned. First they stare at the eye surgeon who removed the bandages. Then, they ALL turn and look when they hear their mother’s voice. They STARE at their mother’s face and touch it almost as if they don’t believe it is real.  Watching a baby girl touch the tears streaming down her mom’s face is something I will never forget. You will also see one baby that is mesmerized with a flower – the first flower she has ever seen.

[Below] is a photo of a 4-year-old boy with a huge smile named EmileAbdulah.  We met him today when he came in for a checkup after his surgery last week.   Emile was born completely blind and remained blind for 4 years until someone told his Dad about our free surgery program. His surgery could not have gone better. Emile is staring right into my camera and his eyesight is much better than mine.

He has close to 20/20 vision one week after surgery.    One week being completely blind for 4 years.

And all it took was a  single 15 minute surgery that costs just $300. Now you can see why Mary loves her job so much.  Wow.

Emile is just one of almost 1,000 blind children and adults who were lucky enough to get their eyesight restored this week.

But there are so many more who remain blind solely because they are poor.  The vast majority of these blind children and adults will never receive surgery unless someone helps them.

These kids really need our help – and we need yours.

You can make a donation in less than a minute by clicking here:  http://wonderwork.org 

Brian

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