KARKAR ISLAND, Papua New Guinea —Most people with cataracts are more than 40 years old. Raphael Mani was an exception. At 28, he was beset by cloudy, poor vision the result of a cataractous lens in his left eye. Not only that, but he had suffered from the condition since he was a teenager.
The consequences of his condition were significant. The only things he could see clearly out of his left eye were objects within 2 meters. His overall vision was also affected. He couldn’t look at anything for too long without experiencing blurred and double vision.
Last year, Raphael moved from East Sepik to Karkar Island to study mechanics at a vocational school there. He works as a gardener in Ngor village to help pay his school fees. But both his work and his studies were hindered by the visual impairment.
In April, word spread through Ngor village that YWAM volunteers would be conducting eye surgeries aboard a ship — the m/v PACIFIC LINK. Raphael went to see the volunteers the day after he heard the news.
Once onboard, he had a consultation with Dr. Sunu Dulal, the ophthalmologist who was performing the surgeries. Dr. Dulal was willing to operate on Mani, but was skeptical that the surgery would be successful. Although Raphael didn’t know what might have caused his cataract, Dr. Dulal suspected that the source was a blunt trauma to the left eye. Raphael probably didn’t know the cause of cataract because his condition likely developed long after the initial trauma, Dulal said. When a cataract is caused by that kind of trauma, surgeries are less likely to be successful.
The doctor, a Buddhist who is originally from Nepal, told Raphael that he would perform the surgery but that he should pray to his God for a successful outcome. When Raphael returned the next day for a post-operation exam, the improvement in his vision surprised Dr. Dulal. The doctor said Raphael’s prayers to Jesus must have been answered.
Raphael left the PACIFIC LINK overjoyed at having near-perfect vision for the first time in his adult life. He thanked the volunteers of the PACIFIC LINK and Jesus for blessing the hands of the doctor.