KARKAR ISLAND, Papua New Guinea – Mrs. Bis Taur, Bubu Meri (pidgin for Grandma), was struggling to carry out routine daily tasks. Aged 66, she was overcome by a chronic eye problem that had vexed her for four years.

Grandma 2

The problem, cataracts in both eyes, caused constant itching, wateriness and – most frustratingly – blurred vision. Whenever she tried to cook, the smoke from the flames caused severe irritation. After her condition became overwhelming, her husband lovingly took on the burden of her household chores. That took time away from his profitable work making copra — the inner, chewable part of a coconut that is used in making oil after being dried. However, he didn’t mind the sacrifice. Then last year he died.

Grandma 3

Now a widow and barely able to see, Bubu Meri was reliant on seven of her grandchildren who lived nearby with her two oldest sons. They took turns checking on her — some would visit in the morning, others in the evening — to make sure she was eating regularly.

In February, the unexpected happened. Bis heard that YWAM optometry volunteers had sailed to Karkar Island aboard the m/v PACIFIC LINK. They were conducting dental, primary health care and optical clinics in Miak village, very close to her home. Hope entered that day — she sought out these eye specialists. While this team wasn’t able to help her at that time, they said they were working towards returning to Karkar with an eye surgeon who could restore the condition of her eyes. Can you imagine how she must have prayed that following month?

Grandma Bis

Her prayer was answered in April when the ship returned with an ophthalmologist, Dr. Sunu Dulal, who had come from Fred Hollows organization in Madang to volunteer his skills and help serve the isolated people of Karkar Island.

Bis, now almost completely blind, walked for one hour to reach the pickup spot where a truck would take her to the beach off of Wadau Village Bay where the ship was anchored. She climbed into a zodiac, and once next to the ship, went in through the sea-door and up a flight of stairs to the aft deck. She had only a short wait before the surgeon called her into surgery, and through a small incision made removed her thick white cataract and replaced it with a clear interocular lens she could see through.

She returned four days later to have the cataract removed from her other eye.

After surgeries that lasted less than 45 minutes, Grandma Bis had recovered sight in both eyes! She thanked the medical volunteers on the PACIFIC LINK, but also credited Jesus for inspiring the outreach effort. She was full of excitement as she returned home looking forward  to being able to help her family and being able to cook again!

Those words coming from a mother and grandmother, resound with restored dignity and pleasure as she can once again participate in family life.

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