I would like to share with you one of the stories from a woman who came for fistula repair surgery, a campaign that many of you supported financially and/or in prayer….
Imagine being newly married and pregnant. Imagine having a difficult and long labor without access to an epidural or pain medication much less a cesarean section. Now imagine you experience a stillbirth and then realize in the days after that not only are you having normal postpartum bleeding, but you are also unable to control your bladder. In fact, you are wet all the time. You begin to smell of urine, and your skin becomes calloused with exposure to the acidic urine. You stop drinking water, as the dehydration lessens the wetness. This causes the smell to increase with the concentration of urine and puts you at risk for kidney stones. Imagine your husband calls you “detestable” and refuses to let you stay with him. Your friends abandon you and laugh at your condition. You go back to your family without the expected grandchild or niece or nephew, and after a short time, they also decide that they cannot stand being around you or their house smelling. Imagine having no place to go, being utterly alone. The following is one first-hand account, translated as closely as possible from their mother tongue to French and then English. Grab a tissue.
“I was expecting a child and for a whole week I had labor pains so I was taken to the hospital of [omitted for privacy] after having already labored in a health center. And I delivered a boy and the urine started to pour out of my vagina, but my son was killed mysteriously by the sorcerer. Now it has been 29 years that I’ve had this sickness. After having it, I started to be uncomfortable, as I had to wash all the time in order to not smell like urine. I couldn’t stay in the community because I smelled like urine, I avoided the church because I was wet just sitting down, and even my business I could no longer do because I was not going to be received well knowing that I would dirty their chair or their bed with urine but that also, I smelled like urine. My husband heard the news on the radio and we came. After this operation, I think that this time I will be healed and I have not had any more leakage of urine this time. It is a good thing. I will be able to get my life back and I will be happy.” -29 years after symphysiotomy, a process by which the pelvic bones are separated/broken apart at the cartilage in the front in order to expedite a delivery when a cesarean section is not feasible.
One of our fistula team members, Katherine, sang this song to the women in the fistula ward:
“Who the Son sets free is free indeed.
I’m a child of God. Yes, I am.
In my Father’s house there’s a place for me.
I’m a child of God. Yes, I am. “
What marvelous Good News that there is a place for her, and me, and you no matter our condition, in the Father’s House!
Thanks for praying that God will bring health and wholeness in Congo. Thanks for financially supporting this work through International Ministries: https://internationalministries.org/congo-womens-surgical-care/
Thanks to Dr. Shannon Potter for contributing the story in this Newsletter.
Tim and Kathy Rice
Christ followers in Vanga