Lucia danced when her vision was restored

When 86-year-old Lucia’s vision failed, her world got smaller and darker. No longer able to tend her crops, cook, or take care of children, she became dependent on her community. But recently, she received cataract surgery and, moments after the patches were removed from her eyes, Lucia rose to sing and dance in celebration of her restored sight!

Lucia was active all her life, living as a subsistence farmer and taking pride in tending her corn fields in the remote Mushindamo District of Zambia.

However, her life changed dramatically when she became blinded by cataracts. She was no longer able to cook or help take care of the children in her extended family. She even had to stop farming after she broke her arm in the fields. Lucia became dependent on a close family friend, named Martha, to guide her around, feed her, and assist Lucia with her daily needs.

Watch Lucia celebrate after receiving sight-saving surgery.

Lucia said, “My heart ... I’m not happy for being a blind woman. I used to see for myself. I used to do my daily activities, but now that I can't see, and my heart is troubled for losing my sight.”

Fortunately, Lucia found help when she made the long journey, with Martha by her side, to Zambia’s Solwezi General Hospital, an Orbis partner hospital. Here, she met Chenga Oliver, an Orbis-trained surgeon, who diagnosed Lucia with hyper-mature cataracts in both eyes.

Knowing how far Lucia traveled, Chenga Oliver performed surgery in both eyes the very same day. He said, “We are hoping to change the life of Lucia, because she had stopped doing everythingevery activity that she used to do. She has talked about being a good farmer. We are hoping to give her a ‘new life’ — so she can get back to farming, tend to herself, clean and sweep up her surroundings, and contribute to her community.”

Lucia smiling with Chenga.

Lucia’s new life began the next day, when the surgeon removed the post-operative bandages covering Lucia’s eyes.

She blinked for a minute, as her eyes adjusted to the light that was seemingly too strong for her. Chenga Oliver asked her whether she could see him. She nodded, at first not sure, and then she started to smile as she looked around, taking in the people in her room, including her beloved Martha.

Soon, she was on her feet in celebration. She was so excited that she could see again, she began to dance and sing in her dialect, “God is good all the time and I don’t know what to give you for restoring my sight.

When asked about the well-used bamboo walking stick that was no longer clenched in her hand, she smiled and said, “I threw it!”

Today, Lucia can see once more – and it’s thanks to friends like you. Please remember, your generous support of Orbis will help restore sight and prevent blindness around the world.

Lucia dances and celebrates with Martha and members of her family after her sight-restoring surgery.

You Can Give the Gift of Sight

Around the world, 338 million people live with blindness or moderate to severe vision impairment. But 77% of these cases could be prevented or treated with the right care.

Please, consider making a special contribution today to make a sight-saving and life-changing difference for people like Lucia.

Give the gift of sight.

No one should live with preventable blindness.

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