Zeke's Story

Zeke joined Watsi on April 7th, 2014. Nine years ago, Zeke joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Zeke's most recent donation traveled 8,200 miles to support Wellen, a farmer from Uganda, for hernia repair surgery.


Zeke has funded healthcare for 30 patients in 11 countries.

patients you have funded

Meet Wellen, a 35-year-old man from Uganda who has five children. For the last fifteen years, Wellen has dealt with pain from an inguinal hernia, a condition in which part of the intestinal tissue protrudes through the lower abdomen wall. At first Wellen's hernia didn't cause him much pain. As it got worse over the years, he was able to manage his pain with medication. However, for the last year the medication has failed to help. Wellen's pain has become much worse and he has begun to experience general weakness. He has had to cut back on his farming, relying on his wife and children to do much of the work on their small farm where they grow sorghum, corn, and other crops. Despite their hardships, Wellen and his wife, Glorious, have managed to send all of their children to school, which makes them very happy. When he is not working or spending time with his family, Wellen enjoys meeting with the other men in the village savings group and sharing ideas to build the community. In order to treat his pain and prevent possible future complications, Wellen requires a $208 hernia repair surgery, during which doctors will return the herniated tissue to the abdominal cavity and fix the weakened area in the abdominal wall. While he cannot afford the entirety of the cost, Wellen has contributed $4 towards his operation. "I hope to open a small shop in the village after my surgery," he says, "so I don't have to do so much labor farming, which could make my hernia return." "I thank all the donors supporting me," says Wellen. "On my own, I would not have managed, but I am now hoping after surgery to be more useful again." Let's help fund Wellen's procedure so he can return to his work and care for his family.

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72-year-old Mutahi started feeling lower abdominal pain about five years ago, and later developed scrotal swelling on his left side, which keeps increasing in size. Since then, Mutahi has had on and off pain and backaches. His discomfort increases when he walks so he is unable to travel long distances. In 2015 Mutahi visited a health centre close to his home in Uganda, where he was told he had a scrotal cyst, but was advised to report his condition to a hospital for further diagnosis. He visited a hospital at the beginning of 2016 and was diagnosed with hydrocele, a condition causing an excess amount of fluid to build up. He was unable to pay for his surgery because he has no income so his condition has gone untreated. If Mutahi does not receive surgery he will continue living in discomfort and pain. With $215, Mutahi will undergo surgery to release the excessive scrotal fluid. This operation will relieve the pressure and pain Mutahi has experienced for the past several years and make it easy for him to walk and farm again. Mutahi is married and the father of 14 children. Most of his children are also poor; married and taking care of their own families with little additional resources. His wife is also sick; she is unable to do anything without straining. Mutahi is usually supported by his children, who feed both him and his wife and give them money to buy soap, salt, and sugar. “After surgery I hope to regain my strength and continue working in my fields,” shared Mutahi.

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When she was in primary school in Kenya, Esther sustained an injury to her right ear while playing. Due to her family's inability to afford hospital care, she received traditional medicinal treatment. However, after enrolling in high school in 2006 Esther began to notice a hearing problem. Now, as a 26-year-old recent university graduate, Esther is not able to perceive sound with her right ear. Between 2006 and 2009 Esther visited different hospitals with no clear diagnosis of her condition. Luckily, in 2015 she was referred to a national hospital where she was diagnosed and hearing aids were prescribed. However, Esther cannot afford to purchase the hearing aids. Esther is the second-born child in a family of three children. She and her two brothers have been raised by a single mother who earns a living as a fruit vendor. Esther's eldest brother is a casual laborer, as he could not proceed with his education after high school due to lack of school fees. Esther was lucky to have a sponsor who has supported her education from high school through to university. She completed her degree in commerce in April 2016 but has yet to secure a job. Esther's aim in life is to support her mother and brothers, as they have had a long struggle in life. Due to her hearing condition, Esther has had problems fully engaging in conversations. People are sometimes offended when she has to keep asking them to repeat what they are saying. If not treated, Esther will continue having problems with her hearing and this may continue to affect her social relations. Her progress at work and in life will be limited because of the condition. Esther was recently referred by a friend to Watsi's medical partner, where hearing aids were once again recommended. Her family requires financial assistance to cover the $712 cost of the hearing aids. Let's help Esther purchase the hearing aids she needs so she can find a job and accomplish her goals. "My wish is to be able to access the hearing aids and be able to lead a more productive life and give back to the society," says Esther.

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Meet Ana, a 23-month-old girl from Guatemala. Ana and her four siblings live in a one-room adobe house with a tin roof in a rural mountainous community. She loves to play with her doll with her older siblings, and sing to her little brother. Her parents are farmers, and they cultivate cabbage, cauliflower, and green beans which they sell at the market, and eat what does not sell. Although her parents work hard, they do not make enough money to support a healthy diet for Ana and need support to help her get well—they cannot afford to give her even one egg or piece of fruit per day. Ana is not growing like she should because she has acute malnutrition. She is nearly three and a half standard deviations below the normal size for her age. This is because she has not had access to a healthy diet—her body has not gotten the protein, calories and nutrients that it needs to grow normally. Her energy is low, she has little appetite, and she has been getting sick more often than the other kids that live in the neighborhood—in the past two weeks alone she has had a fever and cough. Diarrhea, cough, and fevers can be life-threatening for children like Ana, whose immune systems are weak due to their poor diet. Her mother is worried about her, since she has noticed that she is not growing as well as her older kids. In the long term, Ana could be at risk of stunted neurodevelopment, behavioral problems, and a greater risk of chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. Growth monitoring, micronutrients, food supplementation, and deworming medication will help Ana gain weight and grow taller to catch up with other children her age. All of this can be accomplished with treatment, which costs $512. Treating her now will have a large impact—she will likely be able to reach developmental milestones just like healthy kids her age. This treatment will strengthen her immune system, increase her overall caloric intake, and allow her to have more energy to play and learn. Her parents will receive the support they need to feel empowered to give her the diet she needs to grow and develop--they will receive intense and motivational nutrition classes to learn what, when, and how to feed Ana the best diet possible. This will help her start to develop better both physically and mentally, giving her the chance to live a healthy and productive life, escaping the cycle of malnutrition that is making her sick. "I hope that one day she can graduate and become a teacher," Ana's mother shared.

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Mu is a 38-year-old woman who lives in a rural Burmese village with her husband, son-in-law, five daughters, and ten-month-old grandson. Her eldest daughter got married last year, the middle two attend school, and the younger ones live at home. “Mu’s family harvests rice and grows vegetables on their land,” says our medical partner, Burma Border Projects (BBP). “They also keep chickens and pigs, which they occasionally sell when they need money.” Mu has a myoma -- a noncancerous growth in her uterus. “She can feel the mass in her abdomen and cannot sleep well due to back and abdominal pain,” BBP explains. “As she is unable to afford treatment in Burma, she has to cross the Thailand border to seek medical care. Each time she comes to Thailand, she has to stop working and take out a small loan to cover transportation costs.” Treatment to remove Mu’s myoma costs $1,500. This cost covers transportation to Thailand, a CT scan, and outpatient visits pre-surgery. “Once Mu has received treatment, she will be able to go back to work with her family and will not have to borrow money to cross the border,” BBP continues. “This will enable her to support her children to go to school and pursue their own interests. She will also be free from pain and discomfort and be able to live a life full of dignity.” “In the future, I will go back to my work on the farm – I am happy to stay in my village,” shares Mu. “I will be so happy to have surgery. I feel like I am carrying something inside so I want to take it out.”

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