To all Fathers, Stepfathers, Grandfathers, Uncles, Brothers and all the other men in our lives, we hope you have a Happy Father’s Day. May you be blessed, and continue to be a blessing to others, even with the challenges of living in lockdown!
We want to express our heartfelt thanks to you for your ongoing support and generosity. You are a blessing to many fathers, like Masu from Nigeria…
Masu is an amazing father, husband and community leader. No wonder his children want to be just like him. Except for the River Blindness parasites that completely destroyed his eyes… and his dreams.
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. 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.”
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. 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, and your generosity is helping provide the treatment to keep children and adults safe from the debilitating effects of River Blindness.
As a father, Masu is grateful his family can be protected from River Blindness, something that he could not provide for them. Thank you for each and every gift you give to help those living with a disability in the world’s poorest places.