KAR KAR ISLAND, Papua New Guinea — Alfred Taranga walked three hours for the opportunity to end three years of hardship. The 55-year-old from Mom Village suffered from pterygium (pronounced terr – idge – ee – uhm) a tissue growth on the eye that also alternately causes dry, itchy eyes and watering. The condition had cast a literal and figurative shadow over his life.
Because of the pterygium, Taranga’s eyes were so severely irritated by light that he stayed out of the sun as much as possible. And he was almost never seen outdoors not wearing sunglasses. It was impossible for him to read without his eyes watering.
Prior to becoming visually impaired, Taranga had a successful business operating a sawmill, which allowed him to provide for his wife and six children. But he was constantly rubbing the sweat and sawdust from his eyes, which contributed to his condition and accelerated its progression. He recently had to turn over control of his business to his two oldest sons because he was no longer physically capable of carrying out the work.
Despite all of these setbacks, Taranga always believed God would grant him recovery of his sight. His faith was rewarded this spring when a surgical team sailed to Kar Kar Island aboard the m/v PACIFIC LINK, a YWAM medical ship. On board, ophthalmologist Dr. Sunu Dulal was performing restorative eye surgeries.
Taranga made it on board for Day 1 of the surgeries after a long walk to reach the ship. He was one of 64 people to be operated on during the ship’s two weeks anchored in Kar Kar’s Wadau Bay.
After a surgery that lasted less than 30 minutes, Taranga was on the mend. He was extremely grateful to the YWAM volunteers and God for having his sight restored.
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