A young boy sitting on a step with his eyes closed and a ball in his hands.

“When I grow up, I want to work with a car!”

5-year-old Sesan spent most of his childhood living in darkness because of cataracts, leaving him barely able to see. But after successful surgery at CBM’s partner hospital, Sesan hopes to start school one day and train as a mechanic.

His parents first noticed the spots in Sesan’s eyes when he was 2 years old. “We hoped there would be treatment but all we could do is pray because we don’t have the financial strength to get help”, says Sesan’s father, Noah.

Noah farms a small plot of land which he says is “just enough to feed the family. If there is a little bit of extra crop from what the family eats I try to sell it to bring more money into the family.” Living hand-to-mouth, the family grow yams, cassava, maize and pepper, but having enough food is a daily challenge that is never far from Noah’s mind.

Sesan struggles to go to school like his friends and elder brothers because he can’t see the way. His surroundings are unfamiliar which means he often falls and hurts himself. His father says, “Sesan has difficulty going to school. If he tries to go without support he often falls on the way and gets loads of bruises on his body.”

“He cannot read and he cannot write, all because of this problem. He also cannot play with his friends as well as he would love to. He falls down most times.”, says Sesan’s mother, Olanike, sadly. 

Sesan is happiest when he is playing with his orange and brown ball. The sound it makes on the floor is the only way Sesan knows where it’s rolling.

Sight-restoring surgery

Removing cataracts from a child’s eye is a relatively simple procedure and takes less than an hour. But for Sesan’s parents, the cost of an operation was far beyond their means.

Sesan’s mother Olanike has a strong faith and in the darkest of times that faith has been her only encouragement: “I have been praying and I believe God will intervene in his life. I believe that God will send us a helper who will help with his eye problem”, she said.

Thanks to the generosity of CBM’s supporters, their prayers were answered. Sesan is able to have sight-restoring surgery for free at our partner hospital.  

 “After the surgery, with good optical rehabilitation, Sesan should be able to resume school”, says the eye surgeon, Dr Ugalaih, with a smile.

The next morning the tension builds in Sesan’s small room as the nurses’ wheel in the trolley with the medical equipment, gauze and sterile water they need for bandage removal.

Sesan is reserved and shy. The nurse tugs gently at the bandage across his face. Sesan’s eye is protected by gauze and a shield from the cataract surgery, all held down with thick plaster tape. Taking off a plaster hurts sometimes! But finally the bandage comes off. There is a pause and he stares straight ahead, trying to take in the change. Everyone is quiet. Slowly but surely he processes what is around him. He smiles. “He can see”, says the nurse.

New experiences, new ambitions

A few hours later, Sesan is playing with his ball – his laughter and joy light up the room. The first time that he manages to bounce the ball against the wall and catch it he is elated and jumps around – the nurses try to keep him calm as he needs to rest after the surgery but the excitement of being able to see and play is just too much! They give him some pencils and paper so he can play quietly. The nurse points out the colours of the pencils – Sesan has never been able to make out colours before.

First, Sesan draws his ball. Then he starts to draw circles and lines. The nurse asks what he’s drawing. “A car”, he says. His mum Olanike laughs: “He has never seen a car”.  But Sesan is determined that this is going to change. “When I grow up, I want to work with a car”, he says with a smile.

Watch the moment Sesan sees for the first time, in this short film: Bringing colour to Sesan’s world | Colours of Christmas – YouTube (open link in new tab)


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