When we visit with fistula survivors at the Rehab Center in Phebe, some of our activities include doing various craft projects with them. One project included gluing inspirational messages on the bottom of clear stones.
Picture how devastated a woman must feel after losing her baby due to inadequate care during the birthing process. Imagine her then discovering that she can’t stop leaking urine – a result of her prolonged labor. The leaking causes a stench so foul that her family kicks her out of her home. Her spirits would be very low.
At our June trivia night fundraiser for Dignity:House, the maternity waiting home we will soon build, these stones were scattered around on tabletops. I kept a couple and put them on my desk at work. These stones ended up inspiring me!
I recently had a rough day at the office, feeling as if I had been through the ringer. As I sat at my desk, waiting for 5:00 o’clock, my glance fell on one of the stones: Survivor. I had survived a tough day and that stone reminded me of that. It made me realize that some days are just hard, but most days are not. Then I thought of my passion, helping Liberian women with obstetric fistula. No matter how rough my day had been, it couldn’t begin to compare to what these brave women had experienced. They are survivors.
My gaze took in the other stone: You’re Beautiful. I smiled. I needed that reminder at that moment. I am beautiful. The women who have been made to feel untouchable and unlovable because of their fistulas also need to be reminded that they are beautiful.
These messages and simple kindness can be a major part of a fistula survivor’s emotional healing. If you are considering serving as a dignity advocate, please contact us now. We are planning a March 2018 trip (exact dates to be determined).
Always remember, you’re beautiful.