Thu | Sep 28, 2023

‘I know I will see again’

Blind evangelist keeping the faith that her sight will be restored

Published:Sunday | January 1, 2023 | 12:29 AMMark Titus - Sunday Gleaner Writer
Velma Campbell Robinson (left) and her main supporters through her ordeal, mother Eugene Jello and sister Desrene Jello Robinson.
Velma Campbell Robinson (left) and her main supporters through her ordeal, mother Eugene Jello and sister Desrene Jello Robinson.
Blind Evangelist Velma Campbell Robinson
Blind Evangelist Velma Campbell Robinson

Just when she thought things couldn’t get any worse, Velma Campbell Robinson‘s world was suddenly turned on its head, and the independence she once took for granted became a painful memory, after she woke up one morning unable to see.

It all started in 1995 when she began to experience severe headaches.

Despite consulting with numerous medical specialists, they were unable to determine the cause for the excruciating pain.

In August 1998, Velma was taken to the University Hospital of the West Indies, but after several tests, their findings were also inconclusive.

“The doctors at the University Hospital said they could not find anything wrong and made plans to drain the liquid from my brain,” she recalled to The Sunday Gleaner last week at the family home in Lennox Bigwood, Westmoreland.

“They made the appointment for Thursday, but when I woke up Wednesday morning I could see nothing until this day.”

Age and experience were now insignificant. Now completely blind at age 30, just like a new birth, Velma had to go through several stages of development and learn to do everything in a different way. Thankfully, she had strong family support, especially from her mother, Eugene Jello.

“It was devastating, very hard to deal with or to accept,” she noted. “But my family stood with me and my church has never left me out.”


Farming is the lifeblood of the Jello family and Velma was always actively involved, but since losing her sight she has only been able to play a supporting role. Her mother and sister Desrene work tirelessly to keep the farm going, and are highly respected suppliers to many vendors in the markets in and around Westmoreland.

Velma and her family attend the Full Gospel Church of Jesus Christ in their community where she serves as an evangelist, a member of the local and regional boards, the women’s director, and the public relations officer.

“The church is where I find my comfort and it is my mission to declare the gospel. Although I am blind, I walk the community on Mondays, visiting and encouraging others, especially the backsliders,” said the 55-year-old.

Looking back, she remembered how she had to work hard to get to this point of acceptance of her blindness. After months of being depressed when the reality hit home, she was challenged to accept her condition and learn to live and survive with it.

“I’ve never been a person who would give up, so after a while opening my eyes to darkness did not break me down as it used to,” she said.

She said the transition really started when she was introduced to Eye Care Jamaica in 2004. Velma was encouraged to accept her life as a blind and was taught the skills required to survive with the disability.

In spite of being in a better place now, Velma refuses to accept being visually impaired as her permanent fate.

“I know I will see again,” the woman of faith declared defiantly last week.

Until then, Velma goes about freely with little or no assistance and has won a few foot races with some of the little ones in her community.

She is happy for her biological and church families, sharing that, “There is not a better experience than living in love and harmony, bringing peace and goodwill to your brothers and sisters.”