Interview Date: February 25, 2020
Interview Location: Phebe Rehabilitation Center, Bong County
Interviewer: Kathy Beth Stavinoha
Assisted by: Emma K. Katakpah
Twenty-eight-year-old Evelyn Jagbah grew up in Sinoe County with her sister and two brothers. One brother is 25 and the other is 15. Her sister is 40. They have the same ma and same pa. She has had no schooling at all. She has three children ages 16, 8, and 7; her oldest was born when Evelyn was 14 years old. She likes the color green.
She was pregnant. She was going to give birth by C-section. During the operation, she got a fistula which she had for more than a year. She first said she is not leaking, but then said she is leaking small small (a little bit). [Note: we believe her fistula is healed, but that perhaps she suffers from incontinence.] She has had only one operation and they will not do another.
Evelyn learned how to make soap and bread while at the Rehab Center. When I asked if she would open a shop, she said there is no material and no graduation. [Previously, the Rehab Center held graduation ceremonies for the survivors. At graduation, the survivors received the materials they needed for their trade and some seed money to start their business. However, there is no longer any funding for this.] When she leaves the Rehab Center, she has no way to make a shop or to make anything. She told us that the people who ran the program “don’t have time for you.” She has the skills, but she has no way to use those skills or to start a business.
When I asked her what was hard (difficult) about having a fistula, she replied that when you get fistula, nobody will help you. People won’t come around you. They are afraid of you because you have fistula. You can’t go among people. You are lonely. You’re sitting down. You are crying. But when you come here to the camp [the Phebe Rehab Center] you can be free and move around. You’ve got no family. They can be afraid of you. At the Center, they love you and accept you. Because you meet other people here and you can associate yourself with them.
Before coming to the Rehab Center, she felt bad. The baby died. She had this problem [fistula] and she was feeling bad. She would advise a girl to marry a good man who would take care of her. She asks people not to forget about them. She said that the place they are in now, they “have no friend, no brother, no sister” and that we Dignity:Liberia) are the ones that are helping them and that we have not forgotten them. We always remember them.
She speaks Krahn. I asked her to say something in Krahn. She said: God will be with the people every time they are coming to us. Because “they get nobody that are dependable for us now” and that we were the only ones coming. “We say thank you.”
Evelyn is a fistula survivor. Hear her story in her own voice.