Find your diamond
Find your jewelry
shape
carat
color
clarity

If you ever wondered how you could change someone's life...

Bella_mezzo

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Messages
5,754
A lot of you Family, Home, and Heath visitors know that I am in Ethiopia adopting my son right now :appl: :love: :appl: :love:

One of the places I really wanted to visit in Ethiopia was Desta Mender/the Hamlin Fistula Hospital. I went to Desta Mender today and am hoping to go to the hospital later this week. I know that I am always interested in knowing more about challenges women face and how I can directly help, so I thought I'd share a little of the experience with you.

I am absolutely amazed at the work they do here! I knew about it from seeing the documentary "a Walk to Beautiful" and couldn't wait to see it for real. The actuality is so much more than I expected. There is a hospital (the only fistula hospital in all of Africa!), a village called Desta Mender for women who are inoperable/have long-term care needs, a college for midwives and nurses, and now satellite hospitals in several major remote areas of Ethiopia. All of this stems from the work and vision of one dedicated woman who has devoted her life to curing and irradicting fistulas. It is inspiring to see the difference one woman can make and how women's lives can be transformed through a relatively simple surgery.

I didn't know what a fistula was before I saw the documentary, so FYI, in Ethiopia, and large parts of Africa and other parts of the world where there are inadequate medical facilities, these women have a difficult, or perhaps an obstructed labour, maybe for days, leading to a stillborn child, which causes a vaginal fistula (a hole) in the bladder, rectum or in the worst cases, in both, leaving them incontinent in one or two respects. It is lifelong and left untreated the woman becomes an outcast in her society because of her offensive smell. Women are often abandoned by family and friends, shunned from the house due to their smell, and forced to sleep and live outside, exposed to the elements and wild animals. Many women die from shock, exposure, or associated childbirth injury. Although treatment is free at the hospital, women are often not aware it is available and if they become aware of it, they often have to walk for 2+days through mountainous terrain to even get to a bus (where they are treated as absolute outcasts and often refused entry) to get treatment.

We went to Desta Mender today and I can't even put into words how amazing Desta Mender was. To be a woman who has had a horrible childbirth injury and been completely rejected by friends and family b/c of your condition and smell and to then either be cured, or have the opportunity to live and work in an incredible, peaceful, gorgeous, self-sufficient community where your medical needs are also met is just amazing! It's hard for me to post pics from here, but I will try to add them when I am home (hopefully in the next few weeks).

I was shocked to learn that in Africa the lifetime risk of a woman dying in childbirth is 1 in 16 and that while fistulas are very common they are incurable on their own, the cure rate with surgery is over 90%. The hospital has been in existence for 51 years and has treated over 40,000 patients so far, they hope to exponentially increase their impact with the trained midwives (the first class graduated in 2010) and new satellite hospital locations which opened in several locations across Ethiopia in the past few years. From the US partner organization site, $450 (USD) provides a woman with a fistula repair operation, post-op care, a new dress, and bus fare home and $4200 (USD) provides an annual scholarship for 1 midwife student (schooling, housing, expenses, etc.).

Here are a few links if you want to learn more. Also the books and documentary are great! I really can't begin to describe how amazing today was!

http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Inside-the-Fistula-Hospital_1/1#slideshow

http://www.hamlinfistulausa.org/home/

http://hamlinfistulauk.org/

(there are partner organizations all over the world, and Dr. Catherine-who founded it with her husband-was from New Zealand originally.)
 

somethingshiny

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2007
Messages
6,746
Re: If you ever wondered how you could change someone's life

wow, I've never heard of this! It's heart-wrenching to think of a woman who has already lost a child and is being shunned by the only people she has left! Thanks for the links, bella. I'm going to do some reading.
 

Sha

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 27, 2007
Messages
2,329
Re: If you ever wondered how you could change someone's life

Wow. Thanks for sharing! It's good to know the hospital is making such a huge difference. I can't imagine the pain that some of these women have gone through. :((
 

Bliss

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 4, 2008
Messages
3,016
Re: If you ever wondered how you could change someone's life

Beeeeellaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!! :appl: :love: :appl: :appl: :love: :appl: :love: :appl: :love: You have your baby boy!!!!!!!!! Oh wonderful, wonderful! What a life changing experience you are having in Ethiopia! I've also seen that documentary and it was incredible. Thanks for the links! DH and I want to participate in programs like these for each other's birthdays and etc. instead of getting presents. What an amazing documentary that was and those women...my heart broke for them. Wow. Those doctors and nurses are nothing short of angels!

Congrats again!!!
 

sugarpie honeybun

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 9, 2010
Messages
299
Re: If you ever wondered how you could change someone's life

Bella - thank you for sharing. My father was born and raised in Ethiopia (Addis) until he moved to the US to attend college. He met and married my mother in the US. I hope to someday visit the beautiful country, meet the rest of my family, and also visit Desta Mender. Best wishes.
 

kelpie

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
2,362
Re: If you ever wondered how you could change someone's life

That's quite amazing. I live in Tanzania and I have heard here the risk of maternal mortality is 1 in 13. One of our projects here is improving access to safe blood for transfusions, which along with trained midwives can make the biggest difference in saving lives and preventing the spread of HIV. Still, we hear about patients giving birth on the floor of the labor ward or being refused care because of their economic status.

Btw- congratulations on your expanded family!
 

phoenixgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 20, 2003
Messages
3,369
Re: If you ever wondered how you could change someone's life

Bella, thanks for sharing. DH and I watched the documentary on Netflix streaming the other night after your post piqued my interest. It was very eye-opening.
 

megumic

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 8, 2009
Messages
1,647
Re: If you ever wondered how you could change someone's life

Wow, what a cool experience! It's incredibly sad that so many women experience this when it's entirely curable. Wow. Thanks so much for sharing - I'm always happy to learn something new that I can share with others!
 

Indylady

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 28, 2008
Messages
5,586
Re: If you ever wondered how you could change someone's life

Thank you Bella for your post and the link too. Also, I'm so happy to see you with your son--he is beautiful!
 
Be a part of the community It's free, join today!
    Scorpio Style
    Scorpio Style
    Good Customer Service Goes a Long Way
    Good Customer Service Goes a Long Way
    5.5 Carat Diamond Upgrade
    5.5 Carat Diamond Upgrade

Need Something Special?

Get a quote from multiple trusted and vetted jewelers.

Holloway Cut Advisor



Diamond Eye Candy

Click to view full-size image.
Top