Patient Stories

Durkita’s story

Durkita, a crocodile hunter, travelled for three days by canoe to have his sight restored.

Imagine your whole world fading to black. Your eyesight is slipping away and with it your independence. You desperately need an eye doctor, but there’s no one to turn to for help. You feel isolated and vulnerable, fearful of never seeing or being independent again.

For Durkita, a crocodile hunter from a small village in the Western Province of Papua New Guinea, this was his reality until supporters like you helped change his life. Thanks to the generosity of people like you, Durkita got the help he needed when a Foundation-trained eye surgeon visited the remote area with our surgical outreach team.

Durkita’s family knew he needed the help of a specialist eye doctor, but his chances of treatment were slim. There are only nine eye doctors for a population of over seven million people, and none travel to places as remote as their village. When his family learned that an outreach team was visiting the island of Daru in their province, they were hopeful Durkita would get the help he needed.

Determined not to miss his chance to see a specialist, Durkita and his great nephew Michael travelled for three days and two nights on a dugout canoe. It was an arduous journey made even more difficult by his blindness.

Before losing his sight, Durkita was the leader of a subsistence farming village. To earn the money necessary for basic supplies, and to send village children to school, Durkita hunted crocodiles. This was their only source of income. Durkita went from fearlessly hunting crocodiles by torchlight in a canoe to sitting inside all day, dependent on his family for every basic need. Durkita’s blindness was devastating for the whole village.

Life didn’t need to be this way for Durkita. When he finally arrived at our outreach he was diagnosed with a dense cataract in one eye and a trachoma infection in the other. A simple 20 minute cataract operation saved the sight in his right eye. With early treatment, we could have saved the sight in the other as well.

It was a special moment for everyone in the room when Durkita looked at his great nephew, now a young man, and smiled for the first time in years. Within hours, Durkita was moving with confidence and laughing. He told us

“I will always remember you.”

Please make a donation today so that others like Durkita can access the help they need.


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