Archford “Archie” Chikwembani
A WONDERFUL MIRACLE!!
Written and experienced by Cecilie Lundgreen & Laurette Maritz
Archford Chikwembani is 3 years old and lives with his Family on the outskirts of Bindura.
He was born with bi-lateral cataracts and is sadly blinded in both eyes!
Our friend, Terry Banda (a distant relative of Archford) contacted Reeve to ask for ‘EYES4ZIMBABWE’S’ assistance…
Two weeks ago when Lolly and I had an opportunity to travel to Zimbabwe for a few days, Reeveasked us to go to find Archford and offer to take him to Harare to be examined by our good Friend, Dr. Chinogurei (Opthamologist) to see if he might be a possible candidate for a cataract surgery.
Lolly, Terry and I drove to Bindura. On the way there, Terry shared that Archie was not only blind in both eyes, but also sadly deaf!
Archie has two siblings who have no problems with their eye sight or hearing. Their Family lives on a deserted old farm where several Families have gathered to create a small community.
When we arrived a lot of children gathered around and Archie’s Parents were there too. They were humble, gracious and very eager to receive help for little Archie.
Archie mostly sat or lay on the floor, he used his hands to feel his way around, he waved his hands in front of his eyes as he looked toward the light (the sun was shining) just so he could see the changes in the shadows (Gratefully Archie could see a little light). He would put his face close up to an object to feel it and be able to identify it.
Lolly interviewed his Mother and Father who shared their concerns for Archie. Archie’s Father did not have work, however was willing to do any work when the opportunity arose. His Mother took care of Archie and his two older siblings.
We explained that we would like Archie and his Mother to come to Harare with us so that we could have a Surgeon check if he would qualify for cataract surgery.
Archie’s family were SO grateful for the possibility of a Miracle that he might be able to have cataract surgery and be able to see!
His mother immediately took him inside to give him a bath and dress him in his finest clothing, she packed a small suitcase with a change of clothing.
Archie and his mother stayed with Terry and his Family overnight, we asked them to meet us at Dr. Chinogurei’s office the following morning at 8:00am.
Lolly and I were prayed that Archie might be a prime candidate for cataract surgery as sadly there are situations where the eyes cannot be fixed.
Dr. Chinogurei was so kind to our little Friend and played with him while examining him. He turned the torch on his cell phone to look into Archie’s eyes and saw that Archie could see some light. He teased him and moved it around so that Archie might follow with his eyes (which normally were rolling around uncontrollably). Archie’s eyes moved with the torch and Dr. Chinogurei confirmed that he was a candidate for bi-lateral cataract surgery…We all cheered!!!
We explained to Archie’s Mother what the Surgeon was going to do, she smiled broadly as she realized this would change his and their Families lives forever!!
Dr. Chinogurei asked us to meet him at ‘South Medical Chitungwiza Hospital’ at 12:00 noon as he was going to perform the surgery the very same day!!! We were jumping with joy and travelled to Chitungwiza for the surgery.
Although Dr. Chinogurei would perform the surgery for free, the theater and the Anesthetist would still have costs. Lolly called the CEO of the hospital and explained Archie’s situations and he agreed to lower their prices…Another Miracle!!
(Our dream is for ‘EYES4ZIMBABWE’ to have a clinic of our own some day!!!)
Lolly and I had received permission to enter the operating theater and got dressed and ready to go in. Archie’s mom was also allowed to come in to the operating room until they had put Archie under full anesthetic. Usually when performing a cataract surgery, the patient is awake and the surgery is done under local anesthetic.
Archie’s mom stayed until he was settled and was completely sleeping.
We watched an amazing Miracle happen as Lolly and I had the privilege of watching Dr. Chinogurei perform two AMAZING cataract surgeries, within 30 minutes, he had removed the cataracts and inserted an intra-ocular lens in each eye that would help him see clearly again…We had tears in our eyes and goose bumps everywhere knowing it would change his life forever!!!
As Dr. Chinogurei had anesthetized the optic nerve, it was only the following morning when they could remove Archie’s eye patches to see the result of the surgery.
Reeve suggested we ask the hospital if Archie and his Mother could stay at the hospital overnight and they happily
let them stay there free of charge…Another Miracle!
The following morning at 7:00am Lolly and I excitedly returned to ‘Chitungwiza Hospital’ to watch as Sister Gurumathunhu (the Nurse assisting Dr. Chinogurei during the surgery) remove Archie’s patches…Archie’s Mother was so excited and was smiling from ear to ear as she anxiously waited for Archie’s patches to be removed!!
When Sister Gurumatunhu took the patches off we were all in absolute awe as Archie opened his big brown eyes and started focusing on things in the room…Then when he came to his Mother he just stared at her…he knew her, but now he could see her!!!
The Lady who has loving cared for him, guided and lead him and who now was excited beyond words!!!!
ARCHIE SEES HIS MOTHER FOR THE FIRST TIME!!!
Archie’s aunt had also arrived to witness this miracle that morning and she was SO grateful for what the doctor, nurses and hospital had done!!!
As Archie was sitting in his hospital bed looking around in wonder and curiosity as this was a whole new, big world…something he was now able to explore and get to know Archie leant forward and grabbed a cell phone which was laying on the bed and his Aunt said: “Did you see that? He saw and picked up that cell phone all by himself!” It was a clear reflection of a successful surgery.
A 30 minute surgery and Dr. Chinogurei has given Archie a NEW life!!!
Reeve suggested that before Archie went back to his home, we should organize for a Doctor to check his hearing, it would be amazing if he could be helped. We have another Doctor friend, Dr. Shoko who has a son who is deaf so we contacted him for help. He is now in the process of organizing proper hearing tests for Archie, so it can be determined whether it can be improved or not.
It would be amazing if that was possible.
I feel so Blessed to have been part of this amazing experience and I see the Miracle in it all coming together. Through kind and caring People taking their time to help someone in need, Archie can now see!!! His little world has totally changed, his life will never be the same again and what a privilege it was for me to play a small part in it!
How grateful I am that Reeve felt inspired to ask Lolly and I to go to Zimbabwe for a few days, although we might have been needed elsewhere…I got to be part of an amazing Miracle, a Miracle which I will always remember!!
“The first time I met Archford, I could feel of his great spirit which touched my heart deeply because of his ability to get on with life irrespective of his challenges. His coping mechanism of not been able to see or hear was to make small noises with his tongue and wave his hands in front of his face in hopes of seeing even a small shadow. After the surgery I was anxious for Archford’s patches to be taken off as I felt of his Mother’s anticipation.
As the nurse removed the patches, my most sacred and reverent moment was when their eyes met for the first time and Archford could see his Mother…AMAZING!!
This wise little Man’s life had changed forever and his world now had a window…My heart has been touched deeply, I look with my eyes a little differently now!”
VERY, VERY SPECIAL THANKS TO…
Dr. Chinogurei and His WONDERFUL Medical Team
‘SOUTH MEDICAL CHITUNGWIZA HOSPITAL’
Hilary Weeks (for the WONDERFUL music on the video)
And ALL those who help us to make these WONDERFUL Miracles possible!!