Edward is seven. He lives with his uncle and grandmother, as his parents moved to Dar es Salaam, ten hours away, to work.
His family first noticed problems with his left eye when he was just two years old. But for the first few years he managed well and started to attend school in his village on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro.
“I was able to do most things, I could help with household chores and in the garden, I could fetch water, play with other children and run about,” he explains. “I managed quite well with my left eye, despite the feeling that what I saw was not very clear”.
Edward's family did not contact an eye specialist. Edward has epilepsy so they already have to meet the costs of his medication and could not afford further treatment.
But last year Edward’s vision got much worse. “We didn’t know why,” says his uncle. “He started to have troubles finding the way to the well where we’ve always fetched our water. And at school problems started, too. He could hardly recognise the letters on the blackboard. He couldn’t see the lines in his exercise book anymore and started to scribble. The teachers didn’t realise that he had eye problems and beat him.”
Edward adds sadly, “they screamed at me, "why do you not understand?!" But I just couldn’t see enough anymore. I wish very much to be able to see again.Then I can go back to school – and the teacher will not tell me off anymore”.
Finally, his grandmother took him to a local clinic, where they diagnosed cataracts. Edward’s father remembered a poster for CBM’s partner hospital in Dar es Salaam and arranged for his son to travel to the hospital for sight saving cataract surgery.
With his sight restored, Edward can look forward to a future helping others. “In my future I want to be a doctor or teacher so I can help children”.