Tzu Chi Indonesia Free Clinic Restores Sight

Text and photo by Metta Wulandari
Translated by Wu Hsiao-ting (吳曉婷)

Tzu Chi Indonesia Free Clinic Restores Sight

Text and photo by Metta Wulandari
Translated by Wu Hsiao-ting (吳曉婷)

Maswah refused cataract surgery, not wanting to burden her children with medical expenses. But then she regained her vision thanks to Tzu Chi's free clinic and was able to witness her granddaughter's wedding.

Imroatun Khasanah was filled with joy when her grandmother Maswah had successful cataract surgery. A Tzu Chi free clinic conducted in Indonesia in May this year provided cataract and hernia surgeries to 95 patients.

"Thank you, Allah. Thank you, Tzu Chi volunteers. I can see clearly now," said Maswah, 65, as she tightly embraced Eva Wiyogo, a Tzu Chi volunteer living in Jakarta, Indonesia.

A post-operative examination confirmed that Maswah was recovering well from her cataract surgery. She was deeply moved, and tears welled up in her eyes. Wiyogo understood her emotions but said immediately, "Please don't cry. It's best to keep water away from your eyes for now." "I am overjoyed!" Maswah replied, "I can see how everyone looks so beautiful, handsome, and courteous."

Maswah hails from Indramayu Regency, West Java, but made a special trip to Jakarta, staying for three weeks, to participate in a Tzu Chi free clinic. Afflicted with cataracts in both eyes, her vision was reduced to discerning only light and darkness. She could no longer see objects, causing great worry for her children.

She worked as a laborer in Saudi Arabia during her younger years to help provide for her family and renovate their house. But now her husband has passed away and her children live in different locations, leading independent lives. She lives next to her son, who had suffered a stroke. Her daughter-in-law and grandchildren help care for her.

Despite her vision problem, Maswah tried to be as independent as possible. Aware of her advancing age and limited time, she declined her family's offer to pay for her surgery. She did not want her children to incur debt for her medical expenses, so she bravely accepted the pain of losing her vision. Her granddaughter Imroatun Khasanah, who was about to walk down the aisle, pleaded earnestly, "Don't you want to see me get married? By participating in the Tzu Chi free clinic, you can see my wedding." When Maswah learned that the surgery would be provided free of charge and wouldn't impose any financial strain on her children and grandchildren, she finally nodded in agreement.

Imroatun, an elementary school teacher, shared her concerns and profound emotions as she witnessed her grandmother undergo surgery. She expressed gratitude to the medical workers and support volunteers for bringing blessings to the patients and transforming their lives. "I wish all of you good fortune, longevity, and smooth journeys in all aspects of life."

Free clinic transforming life

On May 27 and 28 of this year, Tzu Chi Indonesia held its first free clinic at Tzu Chi Hospital Indonesia, which opened in 2021 in Jakarta. This event marked the 138th large-scale free clinic organized by the Tzu Chi chapter. Eighty-three medical professionals and 124 support volunteers aided 95 patients undergoing cataract or hernia surgeries.

A week earlier, on May 20, a medical team had performed examinations for the individuals who had registered for the free clinic. Taleb, a 61-year-old, tearfully repeated, "Thank God for allowing me to pass the screening." Volunteers reminded him to take good care of himself to help ensure a smooth cataract surgery.

Taleb lives in Cikarang, Bekasi Regency, West Java. He used to work at an auto repair shop and had been experiencing a gradual deterioration in his vision. In 2019, he personally financed the treatment for his almost blind left eye, which amounted to around 15 million Indonesian rupiah (US$1,000). However, when he intended to seek treatment for his right eye, he faced financial difficulties due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The auto repair shop later closed down, but he found employment as a janitor in a clinic operated by a church. A dentist at the clinic informed him about Tzu Chi's free clinic and even generously covered his transportation expenses. "The examination went smoothly, and the volunteers were very kind, providing me with heartwarming companionship!" Taleb was immensely grateful for all the support and assistance he received.

Heru Suwardi, an 81-year-old man, also regained his eyesight with the help of the Tzu Chi free clinic. He can finally read Prophet Muhammad's biography with ease. Karsan, a 63-year-old street vendor, had an accident due to his impaired vision while taking his wife to the market. This accident made him fearful of riding a motor scooter again. After a successful surgery at the free clinic, his greatest joy was being able to return to his work, no longer burdening his wife and children with overwhelming responsibilities to support their family. The volunteers and medical professionals involved felt a shared sense of joy with the beneficiaries, as they were able to help relieve the suffering of underserved individuals.

Contact Us | Plan a Visit | Donate

8 Lide Road, Beitou 11259, Taipei, Taiwan

©Tzu Chi Culture and Communication Foundation
All rights reserved.