Witnessing Winesi regain his sight- the first of a Million Miracles

Witnessing Winesi regain his sight- the first of a Million Miracles

October 10, 2014 in General Leave a reply

Mr Winesi March, a 69-year-old farmer, was completely blind because of bil-lateral cataracts. He had been completely blind for two years. Not being able to see meant he could no longer work the land and provide for his family. When I first met him he was despondent and couldn’t do much more than sit in the shade of his house. His wife had to do everything for him and if he needed to go anywhere she had to lead him along the dusty paths from his home.

In the days leading up to his cataract operation we (the Fieldcraft Studios and Sightsavers team) got to know him and his family quite well. I could really understand what an impact his blindness had had on all their lives. He was nervous of the operation but keen for it to go ahead.

We were equally nervous about whether our ambitions to broadcast Winesi’s cataract operation LIVE via Google+ Hangouts from the operating theatre would go smoothly. Fortunately, both the operation and the LIVE broadcast went very well.  It was then a 24 hour wait until Winesi could take off his bandages and we’d know whether he could see again. His family were with him at the hospital waiting patiently to see whether the miracle would happen.

In the mean time we set up the TV studio on Winesi’s ward ready to film the bandage removal LIVE. The anticipation and nervousness was palpable. The bad news was there was an electricity cut just before we went LIVE for the bandage removal and dispite huge attempts from the team there was no way we could get the LIVE broadcast up and running again. The bandage removal went ahead and the celebrations that rang out on the ward were incredible to witness as Winesi saw for the first time in two years. His family sang and danced in jubilation, there were huge hugs and lots of pointing as Winesi pointed out all that he could now see – including us, the photography and film team that he’d had following him for a couple of weeks but had no idea what we looked like!

My brief on this project for Sightsavers was to provide compelling photography for their Million Miracles Campaign and to operate two of the film cameras during the live cataract operation and bandage removal. I worked as part of the incredible Fieldcraft Studios team who masterminded the LIVE storytelling event to launch the campaign, and succeeded in generating 1,500 blogs, a twitter reach of 10 million, a traditional UK media reach of 32.6 million and from October to December the campaign raised £10 million towards the £50 million goal.

What an incredible campaign to be a part of!

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