Rupeni is a devoted husband and father of six from Fiji. Due to bi-lateral cataracts, Rupeni was going blind.
Losing his sight in both eyes meant that Rupeni had to give up work and needed a constant companion to guide him around. Thankfully, he had the support of his wife and four of his children who lived with him. They would help him around the house and read his bible to him so he could continue to preach at church on Sundays.
Before Rupeni lost his sight, he worked as a diving plumber, specialising in underwater plumbing. He would connect water pipes from the mainland to holiday resorts. When his vision began to deteriorate, he could no longer see clearly underwater and lost his job.
Since then, Rupeni worked hard on the farm to try and provide food and income for his family. Fish is also a main source of food for many, but Rupeni could only go fishing at night because the brightness during the day would hurt his eyes. All of this was such a struggle for Rupeni, so his children would go with him to be his eyes.
As his sight worsened, Rupeni and his wife went to seek help at Ba Hospital. There they referred him to the Mobile Eye Clinic. Rupeni was overjoyed to learn that there was an MEC visit planned in Ba and that he would finally have his sight restored.
On the day of his surgery, Rupeni met with the Outreach Team which included Foundation-trained Dr Mundi Qoqonokana, who graduated in 2009, and Dr Epeli Navela, who was also offered a scholarship through The Foundation NZ in 2019.
A few days after Rupeni’s surgery, our team met with him to see how he was doing. Both Rupeni and his wife were so happy. The surgery had been a success!
“I can see clearly! I can go back to diving!” – Rupeni
Rupeni is looking forward to returning to work and to reading his bible again. He also plans to inform his community of the eye care services that exist in Fiji. He wants them to know of his life-changing experience and hopes to encourage people to access this much-needed eye care and receive the incredible gift of sight too.
This is what the power of a donation can do. It helps us to train more local eye care specialists in the Pacific, so they can return to their communities and ensure that high-quality and affordable eye care is accessible to everyone.