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Cataract surgery deep in the Rift Valley

Story by Enigma Images October 23rd, 2014
Sorry I haven’t blogged in a while. I had problems with this platform and got abit depsyched.
Today’s post is about an organisation I am growing very fond of; CBM International. CBM is an international Christian development organisation, committed to improving the quality of life of people with disabilities in the poorest communities of the world. I had the great opportunity to work with CBM through their regional office, CBM Kenya

My assignment was to accompany CBM US president, Caryl Garcia, on a familiarisation tour on some of the projects they are involved with in Kenya.

Caryl was very pleasant to be around. She has a very kind persona and a good sense of humour but also has a very sharp mind that notices every detail of any conversation she is having.


On the second day of our tour, we got to visit Tenwek Mission Hospital deep in the Rift Valley.

Tenwek Mission Hospital was started in the 30‘s with a mission to reach out to the Kipsigis community through spiritual and medical aid. It has grown to become a world renowned institution making great advances in community healthcare. People come in from as far as the capital city because their standard of healthcare and affordability.

We were welcomed by Dr. Ben Roberts, who heads Ophthamology (right) and then met Dr. Mike Chupp (centre) the medical superintendent. Dr. Ben showed us round the hospital.

During our tour, we bumped into Dr David Sawe, an ophthamologist trained at Tenwek under the leadership of Dr Ben. He was getting ready to go into surgery and Dr Ben invited us to view it after our tour was done.


We were excited to see the cataract surgery and got there just as Dr Sawe was wrapping up surgery on Kiplagat Cheriro.

The best thing about cataract surgery is that it is actually performed on outpatient basis, using local anaethesia and does not require an overnight stay.


Then it was Alice Bore’s turn. She was led in by Edward Bii, the theatre assistant, and prepped. Dr Sawe and his assistant, Joyce Rotich started by leading Alice in prayer. Being a Christian institution, Tenwek Mission Hospital still places emphasis on spiritual nourishment, its motto being ‘We treat, Jesus heals‘. Being a Christian, this really humbled me.


Dr Sawe then makes a tiny incision at the side of the eye and carefully goes in and removes the cloudy lens within the eye. He thoroughly cleans the cavity then inserts an artificial lens. He closed up the incision and moved to the next eye. Unfortunately, Alice had cataracts in both eyes. So he begun the process in the other eye.


They were done! I tried to get a nice photo of my Tenwek Heroes but they refused to smile. They said they do serious work so it needed a serious face. I had to rush, though, because Edward Bii was bringing in another patient.

Footnote: Nikon D7100 and D610, 80-200 2.8, 50 1.8, 14-24 2.8
Bomet, Kenya