“When I am older, I want to be a businessman,” he tells us. But he also suffers from trachoma – an agonising disease that has plagued his eyes for the past five years.
Abdu’s mother, Amina, says his eyes cause him tremendous pain. “It itches. It gives him headaches, fevers – even his ears are affected,” she explains. “When it is intense, he often can’t do anything. It’s causing a lot of problems to Abdu’s personality.”
Trachoma is a bacterial infection that leads to scar tissue building up inside the eyelids, causing the lashes to grow inwards so they agonisingly scrape the eye’s surface. If it’s not diagnosed and treated quickly enough, it can eventually lead to blindness.
“I go to Qur’anic school, but my eyes disturb me in lessons,” Abdu explains. “I am not happy with it. I don’t feel at ease – I wish the pain would stop.”