An Eye-Opening Experience

Written by on August 8, 2018

I stood in awe, a microphone in one hand and my phone in the other trying to best capture this miracle that was unfolding before me. 

Alfredo had been experiencing a deterioration in his sight for the past 10 years to the point where he could no longer work and was now relying on his family to get by. 

We met Alfredo in his village, about 1.5 hours outside of Bacolod in The Philippines at a screening by CBM and their partners held in an outdoor gym. This was my first Miracles Day trip and was the sole representative for 1079 Life radio station in Adelaide. I scurried around the concrete floor with my microphone in amongst the hundred strong crowd that had gathered for examination, it was there I was introduced to Alfredo. 

Whether it was his bright smile or his bright yellow shirt but something stood out about Alfredo, he was humble, softly-spoken but had a warmth and authenticity about him. We were invited to visit his home, only a few hundred metres from the screening centre. 

He led our group up a dirt road that had been churned up by recent rain and big truck tyres, but Alfredo, a man in his 70’s, took the lead as we struggled to amble our way up this path. The road was lined with housing made of concrete blocks and tin roofing, just as we approached Alfredo’s house there was a clearing where construction was taking place in amongst the caribou (like bulls). Alfredo’s house wasn’t like the rest on his street. His house was made entirely of Bamboo and Straw, where gaps would leave him exposed to the elements. The house was raised, so he was negotiating steps on a daily basis and living on his own he had to cook for himself which also proved challenging due to his deteriorating sight. 

We said our farewells and told him we would be there tomorrow for his surgery. 

There was a buzz of activity in what I’m told was a child care centre, but was now a makeshift surgery for Alfredo and many like him from the surrounding villages. We had the chance to speak with Alfredo prior to the surgery, the next 12 minutes was something he had waited a decade for, even if he never knew it was coming. Behind a curtain and other partitions the skilled surgeons went to work, removing the cataract and adding a new lens to Alfredo’s eye. It was all over, almost as quickly as it started. It took 12 minutes and only $32 Australian dollars to change, not only this man’s life, but his family and his village. 

The following morning we took the 1.5 hour journey from our hotel in Bacolod, back to Alfredo’s village to witness the removal of his patch and be there to observe him see again, without hindrance, for the first time in 10 years. As his patch was removed, this stoic man, who always had a smile, began to weep. He shared how he will no longer be a ‘burden’ to his family, his desire to get work and have a positive impact in his community, even at his age. Alfredo demonstrated that with very little… $32 and 12 minutes a man’s honour, self-worth, identity and self-respect had been restored. 

This is why in August 2018 I look forward with anticipation to again, journeying with CBM for Miracles Day and meeting more people like Alfredo and seeing the lasting effect that the work of CBM and the generosity of our listeners are having on individuals, families and communities all over the globe.

Written by Scotty Curtis

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