Erma, Lucy and a Bunch of Bugs
Erma got obstetric fistula with 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 her booming personality, Erma had the same effect 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 an explanation for 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 dwell much on the tough hand life had dealt her. Instead, she reveled in the abundant motherly love she had for Lucy.
After 7 years of living a life apart with her daughter, Erma learned that her leaking problem might have a solution. Our partner, TERREWODE, got Erma treatment at the local hospital. After her surgery, Erma — and Lucy — got a little training in operating a small business, and even received a modest 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 suffered from 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.