A Walk to Beautiful
“I leak”. These women, stuck in the middle of the countryside; millions of them around the continent are afflicted with a fully preventable syndrome. Unable to reach a hospital with ordinary means these women are forced to have home births. If there are any complications, they can lead to a tear in the fistula; resulting in incontinence, of one or both of their bodily functions. Unable to understand the situation, the family and friends of the afflicted treat them malice and contempt. Forcing them outside the circle of people they’ve spent their whole lives with. “My life is ruined, I built a hut outside where I will stay until death; it’s just straw, but enough to protect from the hyenas”.
There are many sad stories along the Ethiopia country side. The details vary, but they have a notorious pattern. There life is life of service, at the age of 2 they’re carrying buckets of water. “By the age of 8 a girl is able to lift more the adult women of other cultures” They’re too small, there’s no time for them to grow, and they’re malnourished. Even the conditions, which lead up to the women needing to get to the hospital are extreme. Some of the women are forced into marriage. Even if the girl’s run away, they’re beaten and forced to return. “I was forced to marry at the age of 10, but I kept running away. My father would beat me, and force me to return; after the 4th time I got pregnant. If I don’t get cured, I will kill myself; they won’t accept me.” Another girl was abducted and raped, until she was impregnated, and then forced into marriage that way. Now all she wants “is to have a normal life, to be able to get dressed up, and walk around with her friends”.
The trip isn’t easy, for the same reason that the women can’t get to a hospital in the first place. “It was a seventeen hour drive after a six hour walk to reach the bus station. I wore pants with a cloth pad to catch the urine; but in the sweltering heat of the...