Susan the Volunteer Nurse
Susan had her first pregnancy at 17 and she lost the baby. She also ended up with an obstetric fistula. But because of radio ads and general sensitization in her area, Susan knew her problem could be solved.
She would need to raise the money to get to the hospital, but she knew treatment would be free once she got there and that she would be reimbursed for her travel expenses. But there was still the matter of putting together the cash to get to the facility ($17).
She didn’t want to risk losing her husband over this issue, so she never told him about her problem. She only said she had a problem from the birth and had to go home to her family. He wanted to help, but she refused and told him she would take care of it on her own.
Susan went back to her parents’ home and got a job digging. She stayed in the back house and tried to keep her problem a secret to everyone but her family. Or at least she tried to keep it a secret for the 3 months it took her to earn the money for a bus trip to the hospital.
Her treatment took less than an hour and was a complete success. She recovered quickly too, but instead of immediately going home, Susan stayed around and helped the new friends she made at the treatment center. Her assistance included everything from sitting around chatting to emptying catheter buckets.
Not every woman has such a straightforward surgery. Many don’t recover well and others will need more than one surgery for a cure. In fact, there are some women for whom the damage is so bad that they will never be normal again. Susan seemed more than thankful for her positive outcome and wanted to give back to her sisters before she returned home to rebuild her own life.