The joys of childhood are wonderful and endless. Most children are confident of protection from their elders/parents and the provision of their parents and loved ones, but that is not always the case, Sexual perversion in Kenya has reached alarming levels. Rarely does a week pass before such depraved acts are reported by the media. The sexual offenders are no selector of gender. We take you back into time as Emma and Sussy share their ordeals, but a first look at all matters fistula….
Fistula: 1. obstetric fistula most commonly occurs among girls and women who live in low –resource countries, who give birth without access to medical help. If a woman’s labor becomes obstructed, she could remain in pain for days, the baby is likely to die and she is often left with an obstetric fistula, which renders her incontinent of urine or feces or both. 2. Traumatic Fistula can be contracted as a result of rape. There are many other types of fistula, Wadadia mainly focuses on Obstetric Fistula.
There is more: More and more kids both female and male are suffering from fistula as a result of sexual assault where a male forcefully enters and tears their still developing reproductive organ. Some of these cases get reported but most go unreported in bid to protect the perpetrators who in most cases are family members in an effort to protect the family image.
Emmy Nafula hails from Mount Elgon, Kenya, the 5 year old was sexually assaulted at the age of 2 at the care of his brothers aged 15 years and 18 years. The mother who prefers to be called Mama Emma is a busy housewife. Who has to fetch water miles away from home?, she takes up odd jobs such as farm hand to help her husband fend for the family. Upon her return home she found her only daughter bleeding, she questioned her brothers but they all remained mum. Several days later, Emma was uncontrollably leaking urine. Unknown to many her mother too was leaking urine since the year she gave birth to Emma. She had kept her problem secret by napping herself up with clothes for fear of gossip and isolation, in the area a woman with such illness was regarded as a cursed woman.
HEART TO HEART: Mama Emma got candid with us.
“if you have lived through the incontinent trauma, you know how hard it is to see your baby withdrawn and always afraid of something, sometimes she even cries in her sleep, its hard, so disheartening, as a mother to know that you failed your own baby girl’’, states Mama Emma. Emma rarely went out she would always coil in the kitchen corner and for the one year Emma never played with other kids.
HOPE WAS ON THE WAY…
In early 2015 during the Action on Fistula outreach Mama Emma sought help from Kennes, Wadadia’s field officer in the area, her travel to the Cherenganyi Nursing home was facilitated by Wadadia, and she received quality care and hospitality. She opened up about her condition too. Both mother and daughter received the free dignity restoring surgery.
Supportive and psychological care
Emma is currently a nursery school student at Walanga primary school. She is still withdrawn but with the counselling and therapeutic care the mother and daughter access weekly, she is optimistic there will get there. The two are currently dry and rid of the burden of suffering and living in shame. Emma’s mother is currently embracing Wadadia’s reintegration program, she took up tailoring and Quilts training. She is grateful for her support group’s help. “These women are simply amazing…we are there for each other always, The people who came up with the idea of repairing women like us, Words will never express our appreciation’’, Smiles a gushy Mama Emma, We heard of the Fistula Foundation and the work they are doing during our stay at the hospital and at wadadia and we are thankful for the second chance at life they offered us.
LIT FUTURE: we are making beautiful bags, dresses and quilts which we sell, we are also involved in farming which boosts our economic status.
Sussy Nasike story.
Sussy currently 11 years old loved playing like all young kids do. She was intrigued by the dangerous boyish games like playing football, running around, looking after cattle and climbing trees. Unfortunately her love for tree climbing didn’t end well after falling from the tree and having been badly torn by a branch that she was left leaking of Urine. She was successfully repaired in 2015 at the Chernganyi Nursing home thanks to the Action on Fistula Program.
Parting Shot: Wadadia’s passion is to end obstetric fistula and offer income generating skills training to fistula survivors in Kenya. The healing following surgery is vital. All should know obstetric fistula is both preventable and treatable. The surgery is freely offered by the Fistula Foundation.