Since moving to Texas, I’ve become a touchy-feely person. I’ll put my hand on a person’s arm or back when talking to them. I’ve become a hugger. I like to pet my cat and dog. Not only is their fur soft, but the act of touching them is calming.
I recently read a story in the Bible about a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years. She was considered ceremonially unclean. Not only did she suffer physically, but she was a social outcast. I’ve read this story numerous times over the years. After hearing about the experiences of several fistula survivors, I was struck by the similarities. Not only did their condition cause them pain, but also emotional scarring. Imagine never being touched because of a medical condition you can’t control.
I think we all have a better understanding of what that is like after having to follow COVID protocols for more than a year. To protect ourselves, we avoided social contact with others and when we did have to be in public, we maintained a distance of six feet. Family members who had been exposed to the virus had to isolate in a different part of the house. The restrictions took an emotional toll on us.
Even though an obstetric fistula is not contagious, hundreds of Liberian women and girls are avoided by their friends and family because they are leaking. Hundreds! Every day! Their stories may cause you to cry. If you are touched by their pain, I hope it inspires you to do something to help.
Dignity:Liberia is building a maternity waiting home to minimize the likelihood of expectant mothers developing a fistula, and a clinic dedicated to treat those who develop this debilitating condition. To learn more. click on this link or scan the QR code.
In October, a team from the United States is flying to Liberia where, along with a team of Liberians, we will lay the foundation for House of Hope and Dignity. You can be part of that effort. A donation in any amount, whether $5 or $5,000 will make a difference. Please open your hearts and checkbooks and give generously to House of Hope and Dignity. Thank you!
Kathy Beth Stavinoha
Kathy Beth lives and works in Austin, TX. She graduated from high school in Monrovia, Liberia in 1977.