Governors’ Camp recently hosted a free eye clinic for the Masai Community in conjunction with the Kwale Eye Centre and AMREF. Eye disease which leads to poor eye sight and blindness is relatively common amongst the Masai communities living around the Masai Mara Game Reserve. Living in an area where there are lots of dangerous wild animals, blindness can be devastating for the Masai.
Over a period of 6 months patients were screened from the surrounding Transmara and Narok districts, and those thought to be suitable for surgery were invited to attend the free camp. A surgical team was flown in from the Kwale Eye centre (courtesy of MEAK and Mombasa Air Services), and a further educational team was provided by AMREF. Governors’ Camp organized a special camp, which on one night alone accommodated 135 Masai patients, and we provided meals for all throughout as well as organising transport and to and from the clinic from all parts of the district. In total 322 patients were brought in and screened for various eye conditions. 141 were operated on for cataracts and trachoma, and most dramatically 33 patients who had previously been blind had their sight restored.
There were scenes of joy and excitement from the patients as the bandages were removed. One Masai elder, previously blind, peeped from under the dressings before the surgeon arrived, and exclaimed that he had seen an elephant on the edge of the camp! Another punched the air and remarked that he would now be able to see and count his cattle again. A Masai lady sat next to her friend and told everyone that she had not seen her face for fifteen years. It was an emotional time for all. AMREF’’s team from Magadi also provided Teaching sessions and demonstrations, encouraging basic hygiene and eye care in the manyattas.