September 2020 (1)
August 2020 (1)
July 2020 (3)
June 2020 (2)
May 2020 (4)
April 2020 (2)
March 2020 (2)
February 2020 (3)
January 2020 (3)
November 2019 (2)
October 2019 (3)
September 2019 (1)
August 2019 (3)
July 2019 (3)
June 2019 (4)
May 2019 (4)
April 2019 (4)
March 2019 (4)
February 2019 (2)
January 2019 (5)
December 2018 (3)
November 2018 (3)
October 2018 (5)
September 2018 (3)
August 2018 (2)
July 2018 (2)
June 2018 (3)
May 2018 (3)
April 2018 (1)
March 2018 (3)
February 2018 (1)
January 2018 (3)
December 2017 (2)
November 2017 (3)
August 2017 (1)
July 2017 (2)
June 2017 (3)
May 2017 (2)
April 2017 (1)
March 2017 (2)
February 2017 (1)
January 2017 (1)
December 2016 (4)
November 2016 (3)
October 2016 (3)
August 2016 (3)
July 2016 (1)
May 2016 (1)
April 2016 (1)
March 2016 (1)
January 2016 (1)
December 2015 (3)
November 2015 (3)
October 2015 (2)
September 2015 (1)
July 2015 (1)
June 2015 (2)
May 2015 (1)
April 2015 (3)
March 2015 (1)
February 2015 (3)
January 2015 (1)
December 2014 (3)
November 2014 (2)
October 2014 (3)
August 2014 (2)
July 2014 (1)
June 2014 (2)
April 2014 (1)
March 2014 (1)
February 2014 (2)
September 2013 (5)
July 2013 (1)
June 2013 (3)
May 2013 (2)
April 2013 (1)
March 2013 (1)
February 2013 (3)
December 2012 (1)
November 2012 (1)
June 2012 (3)
May 2012 (3)
April 2012 (1)
March 2012 (1)
February 2012 (2)
December 2011 (1)
November 2011 (1)
October 2011 (1)
September 2011 (2)
August 2011 (2)
June 2011 (1)
May 2011 (1)
April 2011 (1)
March 2011 (2)
January 2011 (1)
October 2010 (2)
September 2010 (1)
July 2010 (1)
June 2010 (1)
April 2010 (1)
March 2010 (1)
February 2010 (1)
January 2010 (2)
December 2009 (1)
November 2009 (1)
October 2009 (1)
September 2009 (1)
August 2009 (1)
July 2009 (1)
May 2009 (1)
April 2009 (1)
March 2009 (1)
February 2009 (2)
January 2009 (1)
October 2008 (1)
September 2008 (1)
August 2008 (1)
July 2008 (1)
June 2008 (2)
May 2008 (1)
April 2008 (3)
March 2008 (4)
February 2008 (5)
January 2008 (2)
December 2007 (1)
October 2007 (1)
June 2007 (1)
May 2007 (3)
April 2007 (5)
March 2007 (2)
October 2006 (2)
September 2006 (2)
Print Article

Current Articles | Search | Admin Options

An Adventure You Won't Want to Miss: Finding Eye Patients Throughout Rural Eswatini


“My mother went to fetch water. She is scared.”
“Grandmother is not around. She is visiting her sister.”
“Grandfather is sick and can’t go.”
“She stays on that side (pointing far away). Ask the man next to the shop.”
“If you go around that mountain (pointing), you will find her.”
”Go to the school. I asked a boy there to show you the way.”
Locating patients with vision problems in the corners and mountains of Eswatini, after we have met them at rural TLC outreaches, takes more effort and coordination than anyone can imagine.
Therefore, in numerous photos and dialogue, we’d like to take you on one day’s journey to transport eye patients from their homesteads to the Miracle Campus. Sounds relatively simple, right?
We heard all the above and more in just one trip, in just one day. Multiply these interactions by five buses and five days for every CARES session (Comprehensive and Restorative Eyecare Services), sponsored by The Luke Commission. Become eyewitnesses, then, to the miraculous, humorous, perplexing, and what it means to never give up.
These pictures tell inexplicable stories, plus highlight the devotion and determination of the TLC staff to convince and to reassure patients. The goal: to transport them to the Miracle Campus for cataract surgeries and other procedures to give back eyesight that Emaswati thought was gone forever.
Our goal here: to brighten your day as you travel with us.

Two weeks before CARES session, TLC staff start calling eye patients who have been identified for the next help. "TLC is coming to get you..." These lists record pertinent information to make contact.


Patients are asked to meet TLC buses at certain rural destinations, like this one. But no one was there when TLC staff arrived. So the hunt begins.
Ready and waiting along the way, this grateful lady doesn't want her friend to be left. Pointing yonder, she says, "Her homestead is over there. She slow walks."
Felicia, TLC staff member, checks her list of potential patients, noting: “Sometime gogos and mkhulus (grandmothers and grandfathers) say on the phone they will come and then don’t meet us. Others say they will not come, but change their minds when we go to their homes. I must talk face to face with each one.” “She lives over that side,” the patient explains of another. This helpful lady needs surgery to remove cataracts, and she ran to meet the bus.
"My father decided not to come. Will you go talk to him?" "Please can I show you where my grandmother lives? She cannot walk far."
"I think we are at the right homestead, but no one seems to be home," says Felicia, as she calls back to campus to verify the destination.
"My mother is down at the river fetching water and wood," says this young mother, who changed her clothes and dressed her baby before greeting visitors.
"Let me carry your firewood," says TLC's Bhekumusa. "You are too young not to see well. We can help you."
Bhekumusa resumes his attempts to persuade the lady to come to the Miracle Campus. "We will get you a place to sleep and food to eat. The doctors are there." When that doesn't work, Felicia tries to explain how TLC is prepared to aid her failing eyesight.
The lady marches to her homestead. She knows this familiar path but is afraid of the unknown. "I'm scared. I have heard you will poke me with needles." In the end, she declined TLC's offer to improve her vision free of charge.
This lady boards TLC bus... With a smile. Not difficult to find her. She followed instructions given to her over the phone by TLC staff a few days before.
TLC staff stops at many homesteads to seek information.
"Yes, I know that family. I'm coming to talk to you... Follow the road over the river. You are close."
Even the cattle boy is willing to share his knowledge. "First, please, let my cattle pass."
"Bye." "Bye." "Bye."
With no rural street signs or specific addresses, pinpointing residents poses unusual challenges. Felicia listens closely to new directions.
Living out a name...
“I didn’t think you’d find me,” this babe (father) says, when TLC arrives. Felicia makes a phone call asking a neighbor to check on a sick man living with this TLC patient. Since this caregiver needs double cataract surgery, he may be gone for 3 or 4 days. “Please bring a blanket and a change of clothes,” suggests Felicia.
Babe asks, “Can you lead me? My eyes don't see well." "We're almost to the bus," Felicia encourages.
Normally it’s a walking lane, not a bus route. But this day, it is. TLC driver Bhekumusa traveled down narrow roads, plowed through low rivers, turned around in tight spots, dodged large mud puddles from recent rains, and then parked a quarter mile from the man’s homestead. But now he’s safely on the bus.
"My grandmother left to get food. She said she must have food; her eyes could wait."
Felicia phoned this lady, and she meets the bus. Determined, thankful...
A little leery of unexpected visitors, these babies are cared for by their grandparents.
Bhekumusa assists this grandfather into his wheelchair. When Felicia called and said TLC would be there soon, Grandmother said first she must take a bath and help her husband take a bath. When TLC staff arrived, she was just pouring out the bath water and scurrying around packing their traveling bag.
Here we go. Bhekumusa returned the wheelchair to the homestead, after the patient was lifted on the bus. Felicia calls ahead to the TLC staff know that a wheelchair would be needed when the bus arrives at the Miracle Campus.
Grandmother scoops up her young charges to be taken to a neighboring homestead, while she and her husband are gone. TLC bus driver delivers the babies on his way to a main road.


Now that you have taken this journey in photos, one lingering question may be – "Did all these patients return home with better eyesight?" The answer is a resounding, “Yes.” Thank you, Jesus!
by Janet Tuinstra

Copyright 2020 by The Luke Commission