“I will guide you in the way of wisdom and I will lead you in upright paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered, and when you run, you will not stumble.” – Proverbs 4:11-12
Masu is an amazing man. No wonder his children want to be just like him. Except for the River Blindness parasites that completely destroyed his eyes… and his dreams.
Despite all he has lost, Masu has built a life for himself, finding a lovely wife and having beautiful children together, then starting a group for people like him living with avoidable blindness, called the Association for Blind People. There are many in his village also needlessly blind.
In his youth, with fine eyesight, athletic skills and excellent academic results, Masu had real prospects of leaving the deep poverty of his village for a career on Nigeria’s football fields, and then to become a doctor to help keep children safe from the many diseases prevalent in Nigeria.
“I liked football a lot,” he said. “Ours was one of the best football teams in the region.” Masu was the captain.
Masu had a plan to escape poverty and bless his village. After his sports career, he dreamed of becoming a doctor. “Young children were affected by measles. Others by fever, malaria or jaundice. I wanted to help them.”
All the pieces seemed to be in place. He had the best marks in his class.
But then Masu started to itch… and later his vision began to fail. “I couldn’t recognise people.”
Masu has River Blindness, the technical term for it is Onchocerciasis: the Neglected Tropical Disease that few people outside the affected areas are aware of.
By the time he would have been graduating as a young doctor, he was completely blind.
“Since then, it feels black,” Masu mourns. “I can’t see anything. I cannot even sense if it is light or dark.”
His despair over his lost dreams is heart breaking.
“When I became blind, I lost hope. I thought, I’m finished,” says Masu. “There was no-one who could support me. I was so sad. I was fearing the future.”
Please send your gift today to keep protecting children like Masu’s from suffering the poverty and permanent sight loss of River Blindness.
Imagine that first parasitic larvae – the tiny, gnawing River Blindness parasite – getting under Masu’s skin when he was bitten by one of the black river flies that infest sub-Saharan Africa. That is where more than 99% of River Blindness occurs.
Can you imagine an itch so unbearable, you start cutting deep into your flesh, trying to dig out whatever is eating at you?! That is what River Blindness does to you, before you go blind.
“It was years before I became blind that my skin started itching severely. Eventually, I could even see worms moving about in my eyes.” It was one of the last things Masu ever saw. “That was very frightening.”
“I used to pity people who were blind in my village. Now I was one of them!”
There can never be a vaccine for River Blindness. It is a parasitic disease. But thankfully, there is a treatment: the parasite-killing medicine called Mectizan.
If Masu had just had access to a few vital Mectizan tablets each year, his parasites would have been killed. He would be a doctor today, caring for his people.
Instead, this man with academic excellence and the drive to help others, must be led around the village by his young son Kabiru.
His blindness has left him and his family in deep poverty, and their daily life is hard. Masu, his wife and their children have so little. They live in a brick hut with an iron steel roof, only 20sqm. In it there is a wooden bed, a few utensils, some clothing. The floor is covered with thin mats. They do not have electricity, and water needs to be fetched from the river or the borehole in jerry cans.
“Each morning I wake up and I wonder what we are going to eat since I have no money,” says Masu. “Sometimes we have porridge. Sometimes maize or vegetable soup. But there are days when we have nothing to eat,” he tells of their hardship.
The family work in their field garden every day. “Usually my wife guides me there. But on weekends or after school my eldest son Kabiru guides me with a stick.” Masu tries his best.
Using a hand tiller, he digs bravely at the vegetable plants, bringing the blade down hard and sharp, right beside his foot.
Masu is a courageous man, but he does have fears for his children. What if they don’t get their dose of Mectizan this year? They could end up like him!
Mectizan only kills the young larvae. The adult parasites will live on in the children’s bodies for up to 20 years – constantly releasing thousands of new larvae! This is the reason why people like Masu’s children need Mectizan tablets every single year.
Please will you help fund the distribution of vital Mectizan tablets to Masu’s children, and others like them, to combat River Blindness.
Mectizan itself is donated by the pharmaceutical company Merck. They have said they will provide “as much Mectizan as necessary, for as long as necessary, to treat River Blindness.”
With the cost of Mectizan removed, this means it costs only $1 for cbm-funded field workers to distribute $7 of Mectizan. $1 is worth $7 for saving sight!
By supporting this vital programme, the impact of your gift will be multiplied X7!
Today, you have 7 times the power to protect children’s eyes and prevent the life-destroying pain, suffering and poverty caused by River Blindness.
Please will you prayerfully consider giving a gift to help save children from the torture of parasitic pain and save their sight and to help save families like Masu’s from the unbearable itching of the River Blindness parasites. Your gift will be multiplied X7 to help protect a village from lifelong, irreversible River Blindness.
Your generous gift today will mean so much to a family like Masu’s. They’re doing all they possibly can, but they can’t protect themselves from River Blindness. They are desperate to receive the Mectizan tablets they need each year to protect their eyesight.
Please help Masu, by helping his children, and others like them.
Masu is an amazing man and it’s no wonder Masu’s children want to be like their Daddy in every way… except one. Please send your gift today to keep protecting children like Masu’s from the pain and suffering and permanent sight loss caused by River Blindness.
Masu’s sight cannot be restored. His life’s dreams are gone forever. Please send your gift today, knowing you will make 7 times the difference to families at constant risk from the debilitating effects of River Blindness. Thank you for your generosity.