Amidu “Francis” Kayina, a farmer and chaplain in Lunsar, Sierra Leone, has refused to let blindness rob him of his independence.
As an ophthalmic nurse at the Baptist Eye Hospital in Lunsar, Sierra Leone, Francis took care of many blind patients, many of whom were new to blindness and struggling with the loss of vision. When Francis himself became blind due to multiple glaucoma surgeries in his mid-40s, he became chaplain at the eye hospital, continuing to help patients with a layer of empathy that only another blind person could offer.
Baptist Eye Hospital offers an Agricultural Rehabilitation for the Blind, which aims to empower blind people to continue taking care of themselves and their families, even without the ability to see. Francis attended this training many years ago, learning how to farm as a blind man, and over the years has encouraged other blind people to participate in the training.
In early 2016, Francis learned Just Hope’s farming methods at a community workshop. He was excited by the “planting station” method it taught and knew it would save him a lot of energy.
Francis wants to share what he has learned with other blind farmers. He and Just Hope employee John Bangura have planted a six-by-six-meter demonstration plot at the eye hospital, and tweaked the techniques for the needs of blind farmers. He is also working with Shanty on tools designed specifically to allow blind farmers to lay out plots themselves.