Samoutou Family Blog
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About This Blog...

Family of 5 
from Gabon, Hong Kong and the UK   

Living in Impfondo,   
Republic of Congo   
Since April 2012 

Blog by Joyce the mum, 
Homeschooling novice, 
Eye Charity founding doctor / director. 
Reluctant domestic goddess 

Passionate about sashimi, 
helping people see 
physically and spiritually,   
and Jesus   


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Recent Posts

First few days in Impfondo
August 13, 2015

It’s my fourth night in Impfondo, and I am starting to feel settled. On Tuesday morning I went to the clinic with Henri. The waiting room was full of patients. The clinic had a very positive, relaxed atmosphere and it was interesting to see Henri at work, but what caught my attention was the number of people suffering from preventable or treatable blindness. One man had reached stage three of Glaucoma, a condition which causes pressure to build up inside the eye and consequently kills the nerve. He was blind in both eyes, but had he gone for a test earlier in his life the Glaucoma would likely have been treated before it took his sight. Another man walked in later on with puss streaming from two inflamed eyes. Henri tells me this man had been treated last week and was fine, but had decided not to take the full course of his medicine after he saw some improvement. There was a recurring theme in which a patient had waited until their eyesight was unbearably bad to go to the clinic. I was able to take away from this that the problem with treating their blindness was not necessarily in the treatment itself, but in getting patients to understand and cooperate with the way the treatment works. Clearly, teaching the community not to ignore their eyesight problems is just as important as sticking knives into eyeballs.

Last night, the sunset sky coloured a rich purple, I took my newly acquired bike for a spin out of the hospital compound and into Impfondo. I rode past the UNHCR building, which deals with refugees from the DRC (the British Foreign Office estimates 100,000 refugees in the Likouala region), and continued along toward the main hub. When I write ‘hub’, what I mean is a dusty, two lane road lined with a clutter of small shops and one or two bars. The buildings are almost all small, one room bungalows and can be made of anything from breezeblocks and corrugated iron to wood and mud. But don’t be fooled into thinking the town is uneventful and quiet, it is quite the opposite. Loud African music can be heard at night from the compound a kilometer off, and the closer you get, the more the town comes alive with motorbikes and people lurching out in the road in front of you. It gets dark quickly here, and by the time I had turned back it was almost pitch black. I began to lull into a lethargic state as I pedalled, but was quickly reminded that I was in Africa when a police pick-up truck crowded with armed police, sirens blaring, screeched past me towards town.

Guillaume is my French housemate and every night we’ve been alternating between French and English for good practice. He’s talking about taking a boat to the Ubangui River one morning and going over to the DRC side with one of the local nurses he works with. I think I will have to join him. I am also yet to go check out the loud music I mentioned earlier, but I have plenty of time for that. 

Guest blog by

Rowan Cassels-Brown
New Sight Summer Intern


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