I lost not only my vision but my pride as well

The life of Mr Meng from Laos came to a halt when cataracts threatened to turn him completely blind. He received cataract surgery which made such an impression on him that he had to tell his story.


I am only 55. Ever since I was a little boy, I worked on the land. My whole family helps to cultivate rice, vegetables and sugarcane and we have been doing so for generations. My five children and eight grandchildren all work together and I cannot be missed. But my children thought it was too dangerous to have me work with a machete because I could not see properly. I am a rather stubborn man and I did not make things easy for them. My eyesight became increasingly worse. The day I had to put down my machete for good was a black day in my life. I thought I would never be able to work anymore, would not be able to provide for my family. I was unable to work for almost five years. I lost my pride.

The roads here are very bad and my village is 25 kilometers from the town of Xieng Khouang where there is an eye clinic. The ophthalmologist, doctor Komua, works there but he also travels around in the region. Last year he came to our village with his surgical team. His visit changed my life. My wife and three of my grandchildren were there when he told me he could help me see again. My vision was poor, but I could still cry.

I was found to have cataracts in both eyes. I had an infection in my right eye, for which I had to travel to the clinic for surgery, but the doctor was able to operate on my left eye the very next day. It turned out that he and his team had brought along all the necessary equipment to operate on people like me!

Now, a few months later, I am sitting here at the eye clinic in Xieng Khouang, following surgery on my right eye. I was afraid to go at first and hesitated for months, but then I decided to do it. My family put money aside to pay for my trip here. The surgery yesterday went very well. I’m so glad I came. I can see again. It`s a miracle!

Dr. Komua says that I have to stay for one more day. Everything is well-organized here and I’m in a room with people who, like me, were all blind and are now able to see again. We share our stories and are all very relieved. Without the clinic and if doctor Komua had not come to us, I would have become completely blind. My children and grandchildren would have had a hard time taking care of the irritable man I was becoming, because I could not bear not being able to provide for my family.

You have made my surgery possible. Because of you I will be able to tend to my crops again and we can earn enough money to buy food for our family. I will always be grateful!

Do you want to give someone his sight and his life back this Christmas? Cataract surgery costs € 35. But of course you can help with any gifted amount.