Interview Date: February 25, 2020
Interview Location: Phebe Rehabilitation Center, Bong County
Interviewer: Kathy Beth Stavinoha
I first interviewed Fatu Tokpah in 2018, while she still resided at the Phebe Rehab Center. While there, she learned how to be a beautician (“how to plait hair”) and how to make soap. She has since graduated and returned home.
Fatu now lives in Monrovia where she is in business, selling clothes at the market to make a living. Her market day hours are from 7:00 in the morning till 6:00 in the evening.
When she heard that Dignity:Liberia was going to be at the Rehab Center, Fatu traveled to Bong County to visit us and to see her friends who remained there. During the interview, I asked her if she speaks any other languages. She reminded me that she is Kpelle and that in 2018, she taught me how to say, Yaa-tuawe (hello) and Ku-maneeju (what’s up). This year she taught me, Eecolekaye which means, “how do you feel in your body?” I replied, “Thank God.” That is to say, I am well.
Her little boy, Joseph, was too shy to say hello. She told me “this is my baby.” She gave birth to him before coming down with her problem [fistula] and she blesses God ever so much that she and her baby survived, because most of her friends “that born their baby, the baby did not make it” [their babies were stillborn]. She also blesses God for her husband because he did not put her to shame, but stood by her. She said, “By the grace of God I did my first surgery, I was not too successful, and the second surgery, God blessed me, I got well.”
She encourages her friends [with fistula] to come to the Phebe Rehab Center because at home “you feel like you’re nothing now.” She added that at Rehab, they will learn to do one or two things for themselves.
Her interview is split into two parts. In Part I, she brings us up to date on her life since leaving the Rehab Center in 2018. In Part II, she makes a plea to those who have supported the Rehab Center for at this time, the Phebe Rehab Center has not received funding for several months.