This made me think of the fistula survivors I’ve met. They went into labor, expecting an easy birth and a newborn baby to care for and love. However, what was expected to be an easy delivery was instead a stillbirth, leaving the woman incontinent, in tears, and sometimes requiring a hysterectomy. Some survivors have commented on seeing disappointment in their husband’s eyes. They feel ashamed for letting down their families.
During the team sports, such as gymnastics, some team members did poorly while others excelled. Even while nursing their own regrets at what might have been, the gymnasts still supported their teammates. They took genuine pleasure when their friends did well.
This made me think of the Rehab Center. Some of the fistula survivors have had successful fistula repair surgeries. Others have not. While still suffering as they continue to leak, the survivors are sincere in their joy when a friend is healed.
For me, the defining moment of these Olympic games was witnessing the reaction to 46-year-old Oksana Chusovitina perform her vault. Her first vault was stunning, but the second one did not score enough for her to advance from the qualifying rounds. In appreciation for her inspirational effort, the arena erupted with applause and a standing ovation from the only audience in attendance - coaches, fellow competitors, journalists, and the judges. The unifying spirit in that moment is what the Olympics are all about.
For Dignity:Liberia, the interest and support of friends around the globe has been inspiring. Friends in Liberia, the United Sates, the U.K., Australia, Sweden, Spain, Mexico, Canada, and Norway are united in their support of Dignity:Liberia’s goal to eliminate obstetric fistula in Liberia. Our first step toward that goal is to build a maternity waiting home in Todee District in rural Liberia. Help us realize our dream. Please make a donation today toward the construction of House of Hope and Dignity. Your support means so much! Together we can do it! Thank you!
Kathy Beth Stavinoha
Kathy Beth lives and works in Austin, TX. She graduated from high school in Monrovia, Liberia in 1977.