Fistula Survivor, Business Woman, Advocate
Interviewed on February 25, 2020 by Kathy Beth Stavinoha
When I asked Fatu if she had anything she wanted to say, she made a passionate plea to those who have funded the Phebe Rehab Center in the past. At the time of the interview, the Rehab Center had not received funding for months. The teachers and other staff who remained, had not been paid in months.
“I’d like to say, thank you all that came to see us again. And I’d also like to say, we are begging you, we beg you so much: please don’t forget about us. I know that you cannot forget about us because there is a long distance that you cover to come to see us, so I bless God ever so much.
And I want to ask all the organizations that were helping this process. I want to ask them. All of us that are up there, they are losing hope that they are no longer a woman again. I want to ask them whatsoever that tie them up [whatever discourages organizations from helping] let God help them that they will think about fistula survivor. So that they can empower us. Because our sisters up there, they want to come. But every day they are listening to the radio that the Center is closing gradually. The Center is closing. No support now for this organization [the Phebe Rehab Center].
As you can see here, this place used to be rich [flourishing]. We used to eat the best. We used to play. We used to learn the best. But I came to see my friends. I cannot see anything. The classes are closed. So I ask UNFPA to join Dignity, all organization to join Dignity, to support our friends. To support us. It’s not easy when you have this problem. No one wants to associate themselves with you. In the community you will be alone. Even your partner that put you in the problem, they will stay away from you. This is where we come to feel like humans again. So if this place closes, many women will die up there. Many people will be neglected. But when you come here, you learn. You carry on your daily process. People feel good. People always pair like me.
When I graduated from here, when I went, all of my parents came around me. Friends who had not wanted to associate with me, they came around me. They were so happy because when I left, I was very fat. Shiny [in good health], because I ate the best. So, I ask, I ask, I’m begging you, to please stand by us. To stand by our friends up there. To encourage our friends to come. And what will encourage them to come? When they come, they see food. Food makes you human. They see things that we learn. They will be encouraged to stay here. Whenever they come for their surgery, they come, they see the place dry [deserted] like this, they will be discouraged. They will say, ‘better I go home and be dead.’ So, we’re asking you to please empower us. Please, we are begging you. We ask God to beg you to please do not forget about us. Please stand for us that we will have hope again.”