Too embarrassed to complain

Hanifa, a 25 year old girl from Pakistan lost her left eye following an injury in her childhood.

Hanifa used to make the colorful, traditional quilts found in the Sind province in Pakistan, by selling them in the local market, she helped her family earn 1000 rupees a month.

8 years back, Hanifa started noticing clouding in her vision, she noticed that something was wrong with her seeing eye, the right one.

Too embarrassed to complain, Hanifa kept quite about her worsening condition.

Hanifa’s father is a simple farmer who works in the fields. Her family of 12 consisted of 5 brothers and 4 sisters, living all together in a small hut made of mud in a village called Bheram Ghot, about 50 Kilometers away from Kandiaro where the Noor Dubai camp was conducted.

“Its very difficult to survive, with such limited resources and without any support” Hanifa said as we asked her about her situation, “When I was blinded by Cataract, I was disabled, I couldn’t work, I couldn’t pass the thread into the needle hole to make the quilts” she added.

Shahdad, Hanifa’s brother saw the announcement on the banner in the city, he rushed back home to inform Hanifa with the good news “A free eye treatment camp is coming “ he shouted with excitement. According to Hanifa’s mother, the families in their village are so poor they can’t afford health care or surgery. The entire village waits desperately for a charity to pass by and treat patients.

Hanifa arrived at the Noor Dubai camp, she was worried as she wasn’t aware of the nature of her condition. Loosing the left eye during childhood and now the right eye made her feel hopeless.

Hanifa hesitated to have her surgery done as there was no guarantee for the success of her surgery but with the support of her family she decided to go for it.

On the next day, following her surgery, Hanifa woke up in total darkness as her left eye was totally blind and the freshly operated right eye was still bandaged.

Her family was late, there was no one there.

As she sat in complete darkness, Hanifa could hear the voices of other patients talking, strangers discussing all sort of things, food, goat and men were the most popular topics in the female ward.

The family arrived two hours late, they have missed the bus from the village to Kandiaro, but arrived just in time for Hanifa to get the first dressing off.

Hanifa waited anxiously, she remembered how her mother held her hand to guide her as she lost her sight. 

As the bandage came off, Hanifa started blinking, the doctor held his hand up and started waving it infront of her face, Hanifa smiled. He then took a few steps back and held up 2 fingers, Hanifa said “2”.

She can see again… Hanifa recognized all the images on the eye test chart at various distances.

She then stood up and walked around the camp, remembering how it was like to walk without needing someone to guide you.  Her mother followed her with tears in her eyes .

When asked about how she felt, the mother replied “Noor Dubai gave my daughter her live back, she can see again, she now knows the difference between day and night”.