Her skinny arms were pushing people away, her son Philip gently tried to calm her so we could examine her. We measured her vision at “perception of light” in both eyes, in other words, she can tell the difference between day and night (just) but nothing more. I eventually get to see her close enough to see she has dense cataracts in both eyes. Philip tells me she has been blind for 30 years. She is now 96.
A couple of weeks later, the hospital driver collects Mama Phillip along with thirteen other patients. They are driven to the hospital and prepared for surgery the next morning. In the morning, Mama Phillip, who is surprisingly strong for a small, fragile lady in her 90s is causing mayhem and is not cooperating with the hospital team. Eventually the decision is taken to sedate her and do her surgery as quickly as possible. She spends the next few hours in a deep sleep on a mattress on the floor in the same ward as other patients who have had surgery that morning. In the early evening she wakes up, patch over her operated eye. Within minutes, the peace on the ward has vanished and she is kicking and screaming. Security are called to restrain her but when they see her they fear that any attempt to restrain her will lead to broken bones. Her friends from the village she has come from are able to calm her and the night passes with a couple more episodes that are put down to her dementia.
In the early hours of the morning, after her patch has been removed, she looks years younger, is calm and chatting to fellow patients. She is no longer displaying any signs to suggest she has dementia. Her surgery has gone well and her sight restored. Later that day she is taken home. When she arrives to her village, she stares and takes everything in. It is all so familiar yet different. A man stands in front of her, expectantly.
After what seems like an eternity, she asks, “Phillip, is that you?” He nods. “You look so old, what happened?” Soon, neighbours and relatives appear to see what is going on. She starts pointing people out and naming them, with the usual, “you look so old”. Before long, most of the village have arrived and break in to dance and song.
There are many times when we wonder if we can ever do enough, then there are moments like this that make it all very worthwhile.
We live minutes away from the second largest diameter crater in Africa, 12km in all. It is beautiful over looking it but also a little scary when back in February, towards the end of the dry season, we saw a natural fire turn half of the bracken black in just a few hours. It is certainly hot down there with smoke pouring out of vents in the earth. The good news for Kenya’s power supply is all the geothermal development to supply a green and sustainable form of energy.
In honour of the great Menengai crater – this bake is the first draft of Chocolate Crater Cakes
Recipe – Chocolate Crater Cakes
As for the Tractor in the Mud Cake mix
Divide into 12 muffin cases and place a marshmallow in the centre of each one. Bake for about 15 mins at 180ºC, till the marshmallow almost explodes forming a crater and the cake is cooked…thats it!