Meet Durkita | The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ

Meet Durkita

Meet Durkita, a crocodile hunter from Papua New Guinea

Meet Durkita, a crocodile hunter from Papua New Guinea

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

For Durkita, the backbone of a small village in the Western Province of Papua New Guinea, this was his reality. Until our supporters helped change his life. Thanks to their generosity, Durkita got the help he needed when a Fred Hollows Foundation-trained eye surgeon visited the remote area with our surgical outreach team.

But there are still thousands of people like Durkita, who remain needlessly blind simply because there are no accessible eye care services. 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 to visit the island of Daru in their province, they were hopeful Durkita would get help.

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 —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 not only for himself but 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. We had a solution to Durkita’s blindness but it took our donors' support to bring it to him.

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

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.”

See the photo gallery featuring Durkita

What we can do

Help keep Fred’s dream alive.

4 out of 5 people who are blind in the developing world don't need to be. Routine treatment costing as little as $25 can restore sight and hope.


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