"I was very sad because I could not read the Quran. I missed being able to go to the mosque alone and visit my friends in the village.”
We entered a garden surrounded by mud bricks in the village of Nimetullah. We sat on the chairs in front of the house as the family welcomed us. Uncle Ibrahim, the village's old imam, lives in this house. I say "former imam" because Uncle Ibrahim suffered from cataract last year and had to give up his job as an imam.
Even though the mosque is only five minutes away from his house, he is unable to go there by himself. He was being driven to the mosque by his son, but he wasn't always available. High blood pressure is one factor in cataract development. Uncle Ibrahim had cataracts and his high blood pressure also had an impact on his eyes. I questioned him about how it felt to first go blind. "I had some concerns, but I persisted. I believed that Allah was the one who gave and took my eyes’’ he said.
Uncle Ibrahim could only go to the mosque with his son's help, when he was at home.
He visited the doctor and discovered that he could regain his vision through surgery. However, he was unable to undergo surgery. But he remained optimistic. ‘’I told the doctor I would pray a lot to Allah and perhaps return for surgery one morning,’’ he says. While saying this, he hoped to borrow money from his friends, but he was unable to come up with a sum large enough.
Cataract surgery announcements are broadcast on television and radio in Mali. This is how the people in the villages are kept informed. Those who hear spread the word to those who do not. Those without financial means go to hospitals after hearing the announcements, get examined, and wait their turn after registering. Uncle Ibrahim found out last week that he might get a surgery. "When I first found out, I got super excited. I was very sad because I could not read the Quran, and I missed being able to go to the mosque alone and visit my friends in the village," he said.
Uncle Ibrahim can now see his grandchildren.
After the operation, we went to see Uncle Brahim at his home. He can now read the Qur'an and go to the mosque on his own as before. He prayed a lot to the benefactors. We took pictures of him with his grandchildren while having fun. The sun had set half an hour before we set out to return to Bamako, and it was dark. We started the two and a half hour journey by waving to the lovely people of Nimetullah.