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Comic Relief Kenya Trek
As it is now a year since Comic Relief 2011 we wanted to update you on just a few of the people that have received life changing treatment due to this brave trek by celebrities!
In February 2011 nine celebrities trekked 100km across one of the world’s most remote and inhospitable deserts in northern Kenya to raise money for Comic Relief and Sightsavers
Before they set off, the celebrities met people from Marsabit County who had severe and potentially blinding eye problems, to demonstrate the enormous need in this part of the country. One of these was little Mbaruga, who was born with cataract in both eyes. Several people the celebrities met were operated on during the trek, but Mbaruga had to be referred to Nairobi as there is no health centre equipped to carry out childhood cataract surgery throughout the county. (Child cataract requires general as opposed to local anesthetic, and especially trained surgeons).
Mbaruga’s teacher, Mr David Dagati, told us his eyesight was so bad that Mbaruga could not read or write in class, or even play with the other children.
But what a difference a year makes. Following his successful surgery, Mbaruga is back in school and his teacher said: “Mbaruga has greatly improved and is eager to learn and play. He is the best student in the class and the most confident.”
Sightsavers’ health worker in Marsabit told us Mbaruga's mother was overjoyed by the transformation of her son, saying: “Ashe Oleng, Ashe Oleng (thank you, thank you). My son would just stay in the house when others are playing or working, look at him now!”
During their grueling journey, Craig David and Kara Tointon met Mama Shilingi, a fortune teller from a semi-nomadic tribe known as Rendile (pictured above). She was suffering form the incredibly painful advanced stages of trachoma, where her eyelids were scarred and causing her eyelids to rub against her eyeball. The trekkers were able to tell her about an eye camp that was being set up to help people like her.
She has since had surgery to rectify her damaged eyelids, and been given antibiotics to treat the infection. Sadly the scarring on one of her eyes was so severe that she can no longer see out of it, but she is now continuing to work, free from pain and the threat of losing the sight in her other eye.
The celebrities also met 14-year-old Lino during the trek. He was suffering from a rare eye condition which had caused his eyelid muscles to collapse, meaning he couldn't see out of one eye. Shy and underachieving at school, Lino’s ambitions to become a Samburu Warrior were a distant dream. One year on and Lino is a different boy. With the help of Sightsavers Lino had the operation he desperately needed, and being able to see clearly has given him back his confidence.
You can see a gallery of Mama, Mbaruga and Silo by clicking this photo link !