Aylito underwent TT surgery previously to save the sight in her right eye. We caught up with her a few years later to try and understand the effect this Orbis intervention has had on her life.

I used to strug­gle with my vision before I had a surgery with the help of Orbis.”

When we first met Aylito five years ago, she was blind in her left eye and at risk of losing the sight in the other due to trachoma, the world’s leading cause of infectious blindness. Had she not undergone Orbis supported TT surgery on her right eye, she most likely would have gone blind.

Luckily, Aylito had the sight saving surgery in time. We returned to her home five years later, to see how she was progressing.

We met Aylito near a water point, which is near to a main road, and she leads us to her home. Her home is at least a ten-minute difficult, steep, unsteady climb, with steps here and there, on an extremely narrow path. It’s hard to imagine this walk would be possible without your sight.

Aylito’s home consists of two small traditional huts, and a small yard. It is surrounded by a wooden fence, and moringa trees growing near the door. Two of Aylito’s seven children greet us, as well as a tiny kid goat. “I sent all of my kids to school,” she says.

Aylito’s children also help her with the household chores: “They collect firewood [and] sell it… they also help me out with household chores and fetch drinking water.” She explains that all her children are very healthy – “including myself especially since having the surgery!”

Ten family members live here altogether. Aylito’s husband tends a small bit of land but has taken an additional wife. Her eldest son has dropped out of school and married and is working to support the family. They also live there.

Aylito is a housewife, and cares for her children. However, before her operation, this was becoming impossible for her. She explains, “I used to struggle with my vision before I had a surgery with the help of Orbis. It started with some pain, then the pain became severe like a sharp object was planted inside my eye. I found it very hard to do any of the household chores with a constant pain in my eye.”

Despite seeking treatment, eventually Aylito’s condition worsened: “I used eye drops for a while but with no improvement. I could not carry out the household chores. When the pain become intolerable, I would stop doing anything at all.”

An Orbis-trained nurse met her just in time and encouraged her to have surgery. Since then, she tells us happily, she has had no problems with her vision at all. And she is careful to maintain this healthy vision, for herself and her family, and encourages hygiene to stop infection: “Every morning and after returning from using a toilet, I encourage them to wash their face and hands with soap.”

It’s clear that the surgery has helped ease Aylito’s life – it’s hard to imagine how she would have coped had she been left blind. It seems that the most important thing for her, like most other mothers, is that she can care for her children.

Now I am enjoy­ing my healthy vision. For this, I am liv­ing with my chil­dren with peace.”
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