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Seeing Through Terrorism

For 17-year-old Saresh Patel, nothing in life is routine anymore - not even an eye exam, reports CBS News Correspondent Jeffrey Kofman.

"The iris was in shreds, so we had to suture the pupil," his doctor says.

He is a victim of terrorism. The bomb that blew up the U.S. embassy in his native Kenya last August also shattered his eyesight.

Twin bombings targeted U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania on August 7, 1998. More than 250 Africans and 12 Americans were killed, while 5,000 people were injured, mostly in the Kenyan capital.

"I was sitting just the last seat of the bus. I was sitting just next to the window," Saresh recalls.

Just two miles from home, he and his schoolmates were looking forward to the start of summer vacation. Suddenly, the massive explosion sent glass flying into their eyes. It is a day he still struggles to talk about.

"Everything was so fast," he says. "I only knew I couldn't see. I couldn't see anything."

Completely blinded, his cornea was scarred, his pupils and iris were damaged. The tissue he needed to see had to be repaired or replaced, doctors say.

Tissue for eye transplants is in short supply in Nairobi, Kenya. But some 700 miles away, three children, including Saresh, are in Boston with their fathers for medical care that is helping them see again.

Maria Stevens, an American diplomat who escaped the bombing, made all this possible.

She saw a picture of two of the boys in a Nairobi paper. Their cut and battered faces convinced her to help them.

"I looked at the pictures and just thought, imagine the pain of the children and then their parents," she says.

What began with a single e-mail to her family in Boston led to flights from Kenya, housing set up for the visitors, and operations performed by some of the world's best eye surgeons at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary - all at no charge.

These boys and their families appreciate the kindness and the care they've received, but it is still difficult for them to understand why they're here, why men would be willing to kill and maim innocent people to advance their own political agenda.

"It makes me angry because of their selfish ideas to make other people suffer," says Saresh.

But Stevens believes that her own charity may help heal his anger.

"I think doing something good or trying to do something good is the best repellent against that type of evil," she says.

What Maria Stevens did could not save Saresh's badly damaged left eye. To see, he'll have to rely on his right one. With a new cornea and new glasses he received here, he will regain most of his eyesight.

Steven's goodwill is going a long way of restoring the boys' vision of the bad side of humanity.

Reported By Jeffrey Kofman