The Story of Tume Aido | Negelle, Ethiopia

Nine-year-old Tume Aido lives in Negelle, Ethiopia with her family. She is one of 10 siblings living just outside town.

Tume's parents are cattle farmers. Tume used to take care of her father’s cattle until five months ago, when one of her eyes started troubling her. The sight in her right eye quickly deteriorated and she began to feel the consequences of limited sight. Seeing became so increasingly difficult, she could no longer tend to the livestock. 

Because Tume did not go to school, she spent most of her time at home. 

When Tume heard of a cataract campaign in the nearby village, she came with some trepidation. She wished more than anything that her eye could be healed. She had become very self-conscious and was afraid to be ridiculed by others because of her condition. 

When Tume's time came to go into surgery, she was taken to Dr. Geoff Tabin to perform the procedure. Dr. Tabin said with confidence the surgery would allow Tume to see clearly again. 

When Tume's patches came off the morning after surgery, her expression instantly communicated that the surgery was a success. 

That day, Tume returned home with her father, Dido. When she met the rest of the family at her house, Tume demonstrated to her mother how well she could see by counting the fingers on her father's hand. It was a joyous moment for the entire family. 

Seeing Tume's newfound joy, Dido decided that instead of returning to the farm to tend to the livestock, he would send Tume to school. It was time.

Photos by: Stefano Levi

Nine-year-old Tume Aido wished more than anything that her eye could be healed.