Evalina Kalata is a child of displacement.
Before she was born, Evalina’s parents, along with 57,000 other poor tribespeople who lived along the banks of Zambia’s Zambezi River, were forced out of their homes to allow for construction of the gigantic Kariba Dam.
Evalina grew up in a re-settled and remote village called Nang’amba, where life was hard and water was scarce. As a result of poor sanitation, blindness from the agonizing eye disease known as trachoma was common.
Evalina’s mother and grandparents tell stories of their late relatives who suffered from irreversible blindness due to trachoma. In those days, there were no eye health programs to help the tribespeople understand what was happening to their eyes; they thought they were bewitched and didn’t know to seek medical help.
Today Evalina is 27 years old, and a parent of three children herself. Fortunately, she is aware of trachoma and understands the importance of eye health, thanks to educational sessions that are now held in the village. When two of her children contracted trachoma a year ago, she and her husband knew to seek help for them at the local health clinic. The children were given medicine to treat the infection, and they are both doing well today.
In 2013, Operation Eyesight drilled a borehole in Nang’amba as part of the SAFE strategy to improve environmental hygiene and help prevent the spread of trachoma. The community now has clean, safe water for drinking and washing.
The village has also implemented a community-led sanitation program. Community members are encouraged to wash their hands and faces as frequently as possible. In addition, families like Evalina’s have constructed latrine pits to improve sanitation.
Community-led sanitation along with the provision of the borehole has improved the livelihood of the tribespeople, and they are proud of the work they have done to prevent avoidable blindness.
“There will be no more blindness for my family or for my children,” explains Evalina. “I make sure that my children wash their faces as many times as possible so they will not suffer from this disabling disease.”
Evalina and the entire village are grateful for the borehole that has brought such joy to the community.
“We thank Operation Eyesight and its donors for remembering us,” says Evalina. “May the good Lord bless them.”
To learn more about our trachoma projects in Zambia click here.