Catching Shadows


Yesterday I witnessed something incredible and amazing: a group of children who have been blind since birth see for the first time.

In the West, we are blessed with access to MMR – the vaccine for Measles, Mumps and Rubella. What is Rubella? It’s similar to measles, and very harmful to a fetus if a pregnant woman should get it. Side effects include congenital cataracts, which cause blindness from birth.

On the Africa Mercy last week, 15 children had their cataracts surgically removed…and yesterday the patches came off and they could SEE. It was the most amazing moment I’ve had since I came here. The kids walked up to things, touching and laughing at themselves. They toddled around in wonder of this 5th sense they had no idea about until now. 

As one little girl, 4-year-old Fatmata, walked out the door, she stopped in front of me and reached down and curiously touched the floor. It was a split second before I realized what she was doing – she was trying to touch her shadow.

Her shadow that she had never seen before and didn’t understand. Is there a more beautiful moment than that? 


Next time I see my shadow, I know what I’ll be grateful for. 


20 responses

  1. We all leave in such a hurry and take everthing for granted; we do not stop to see God’s grace. It is the “little things” in life that matter. You are our eyes in that part of the world; you are blessed. Thank you for sharing such a wonderfull moments.


  2. Yesterday Karen and I had the privilege to take our granddaughter , Nicolette , to the the play , “Peter Pan” .. The early scene was about Peter Pan and Tinkerbell coming into Wendy and the boys’ room to “find his shadow” …… Your comments about this young girl “seeing her shadow for the very first time” and our remembering the look on Nicolette’s face during the play where Wendy sews on Peter’s shadow , reminds me of the wonder and openness God gives to little children … You are definitely on a mission to find what matters most in life … Congratulations ….


    • Hi John and Karen – thank you for sharing! You’re right, the wonder and openness God gives children is really beautiful. It is something that we need to be reminded of often once we grow out of it. :-) I’m happy you were able to take Nicolette to Peter Pan, what a special treat for her – and you!


  3. Hi Catherine, Your Dad let me know about your blog and the great work you are doing. My daughter Amy has started a blog and she loves providing helpful information to others.

    Your comment on the children being able to see for the first time says a lot. We take so much for granted that are special gifts.

    God bless you and keep up the good work.

    John Atwood


    • Thank you! Yes, I am reminded daily that we have much to be thankful for.

      What is Amy’s blog name? I would enjoy following her site. best wishes to you!


  4. Catherine, that is amazing and for you to be able to witness that is really something special. Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing.


  5. Catherine – what a “once in a lifetime” experience you are having! I know that Kent and I feel our lives have been forever changed and enriched because of our trip to Kenya and Tanzania a few years ago. Enjoy every moment – and thank you for the service you are doing. You are a blessing.
    Linda Anderson


  6. Catherine,
    I have been following your blog since you packed and headed to Africa. I have learned so much through your eyes. Thank you for sharing. Thinking of you… Mary


  7. Catherine

    your dad told me the incredible things you and your colleagues are doing – the world needs more people like you – stay safe


  8. Catherine, as a father to 2 daughters in college right now, I am so impressed with what you are doing with your life. If we all strived to give back something in this life, the world would be a better place.

    Keep up the good work.


  9. I think this is my favorite story – what an amazing experience. I cannot imagine the joy of suddenly seeing the world for the first time! Incredible.


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