Erma, Lucy and a Bunch of Bugs
Erma got obstetric fistula in her first pregnancy. Unlike other women who suffered the same fate, Erma also ended up with a daughter. Though more than 95% of women with obstetric fistula lose their babies, Erma’s daughter Lucy lived.
With a booming personality, Erma had the same affect on Lucy that many mothers have on their teenage daughters: embarrassment. As Erma sang a song of appreciation, Lucy flashed a smile that showed both pride and a desire for the song to end. Of course, the song didn’t end and the tune quickly morphed into why Erma needed another loan to grow her business.
Fifteen years ago, Erma’s baby lived, but her marriage died. Maybe her husband would have stayed if Lucy had been a boy, but with the leaking urine and the disappointment of a daughter, no one expected him to stick around. Erma didn’t seem to dwell much on that but rather focused her comments on the size of her love for Lucy.
After 7 years of living a life apart with Lucy, Erma learned that her leaking problem might have a solution. TERREWODE (our local partner) got Erma treatment at the local hospital. After her treatment, Erma (and Lucy) got a little training in small business and even a small loan from TERREWODE.
They started a termite business. Nope, not extermination. More like fast food. While making bracelets or clothes might seem nicer to people in the USA, Erma and Lucy are not dependent on foreign demand and they know termites. Apparently, there is enough cash in this biz to keep Lucy and Erma’s other babies (yep, she got remarried) in school.
You would never know that Erma had a fistula. Her success in business has all but erased that memory from her busy brain. She spent more time lobbying for new capital than lamenting her lost years. What an inspiration.