We were doing a clinic at one of our schools in a rural province with a medical team that was here from Atlanta. I preached at the church there on Sunday and invited everyone to a clinic on Tuesday. The medical team saw adults with medical problems while our eye team screened all of the school children for eye problems. A lady came up to Dago and asked if we could see a local girl that was not in the school there but had eye problems.
She sat on the front row waiting to be seen. In her torn clothes with matted hair she sat with her head down staring into the floor. I could see the signs of malnutrition and worm infection from where I sat on the platform seeing the other kids. When I called her to come up she looked at me and I could see a severely scarred left eye and could tell her vision in her right eye was not good either. When she sat down I could tell she was blind in her bad eye and had only peripheral vision in her good eye. In a muffled voice without any eye contact, she told me her name was Wilna.
I told Wilna that I needed to talk to her mother because she needed to be seen in our eye clinic so I could do a more thorough examination. She shyly told me her mother and father were both dead. I asked who she lived with and she was unclear of even what to tell me. I talked to the church member that had brought her and told her I needed to talk to her family member that was responsible so we could set up an exam. Wilna just starred at the floor.
Finally an aunt showed up and said that 10 year old Wilna stays with her since she had no one else to care for her. She has never been to a day of school. I told her of the severity of Wilna's vision loss and asked why she had not received care earlier. A lack of concern was evident. I finally asked if she wanted us to take Wilna to our mission so I could care for her. The aunt laughed as if that was a stupid question. She said it would be a great thing for everyone. I asked if she could go retrieve Wilna's things and ride with us once the clinic was over. She hastily left to get her things together.
She returned with pillow case half full of a few clothes. We all went to the mission. The aunt and her sister stayed a little while and ate and then told me they had to leave. They left without telling Wilna goodbye. Wilna spent her first night at our house with us. Then we were able to get her set up at the mission.
I was able to do a full eye examination on Wilna and determined the cause of her vision loss is most likely due to congenital syphilis. We will be able to confirm that when we get her a full physical exam and blood work. The bad part is that many times those children suffer decreased mental ability and nerve deafness. We will be able to make sure she gets the care she needs now.
So that's the sad part...the happy part is that Wilna is now living at our mission and doing great. Allie from Atlanta really formed a bond with Wilna while she was here and helped with the first few days of transition. We moved Colleen, the mother of Christy and Christa, one of the sets of Joy's twins, into the mission to live so we can continue to help with them and she can help with Wilna. It is working out great. You should see little Wilna helping with the babies. She talks and sings and is eager to learn anything someone will teach her. Jacy Klaire is teaching her the ABC's. We are so happy to be able to invest in her life. She is legally blind and could suffer other complications. But we know God has a great plan for her life and we are grateful to be able to be a part of it.