For Better Or Worse.


Obstetric fistula is an injury sustained during prolonged and obstructed labor, causing a hole to develop in the birth canal. The condition affects women physically but also leads to social and economic difficulties due to the fact that these women are often cast out from family and the community. Unfortunately, Obstetric fistula remains one of the major contributors to maternal mortality despite being both preventable and treatable through free transforming surgeries at fistula treatment centers in the country.

On this week’s issue we visit Rachael a survivor for her second follow up. Hers is a unique story full of love and depicts that authentic love is real. After exchanging pleasantries’ we sit under her mango tree due to the very warm temperatures and hot climate. We spoke about her health progress, challenges and about other topics. Rachael takes us through her journey. The goal of this sit-down is to reach a wider audience. Eavesdrop on our new series, as she takes us back and forth.

Back story.

Rachael married the man she loved and adored in 2002. The two live in Malaa, Kakamega County. She states that hers was love at first sight. The bond between them was undeniably strong. Together they have two living kids. Her husband, Livingstone, who always sits beside her, has been her strongest support and cheerer. Through his boda boda(motorcycle) business he has been able to see her through ECDE training. Like most marriages they faced opposition from both families, despite all Livingstone is a hands on father, who deeply loves, provides for and protects his family. After her training she looked forward to getting employment but fate had a different twist for them. She discovered she was expectant and had to delay her job searching due to extreme morning sickness and swellings. This pregnancy unlike her past was different, she developed high blood pressure due to in-law issues. The 35-year-old suffered prolonged and obstructed labor lasting over 17 hours and had a still birth. Several days later she discovered that she was uncontrollably leaking of urine. She was weak, suffered both anxiety and high blood pressure attacks, her in-laws talked, blamed and isolated her but Livingstone stayed put.

Rachael and Livingstone when they visited the office today, 6/2/2018.



Wadadia: Rachael when we did your first follow up visit, a week after the surgery you were a little off, like not involved in the moment, but on our second visit and calls you have been this vibrant woman who has her future figured out, take us through this journey.

Rachael: (Livingstone adoringly reaches for her hand) actually the first follow up was four days after the surgery, and exactly 4 months after I discovered I had fistula, Fistula can be a bit difficult to and scary to talk about. I had gone through immense pain and self-doubting, I had just buried my little girl, a beautiful baby girl I didn’t get the chance to know, I was going through the unique mourning and crying that only mothers who have lost their children resonate with. I was mentally numb. I was in a bad place.  It’s tough, and people can be mean, some including family theorized that it may be tied to some curse/ tradition. Not once did I venture out of our house, I was leaking, my husband tried seeking help, I was unemployed.

AUTHENTIC LOVE: Livingstone stood by me, he got our kids ready for school and dropped them off daily, and he took care of groceries and cleaned me, (she faces Livingstone), where many others would have walked away, you stayed. Constantly offering compassion, support, love and care. I know it hasn’t been easy, thanks you dear.

On the day they headed to Gynocare fistula treatment center.


But one night my husband returned home happy, he stated that while at his boda boda business he attended an event, dubbed Action On Fistula where cases like mine were treated, that was happening at the market center where they park waiting for customers. He was optimistic, he let me sleep on it. I heard that surgeries were risky but he asked me to take that chance for him and our babies. After a lengthy discussion he called the number on the flyer, I was screened by one madam Florence and was referred to Gynocare Eldoret, I loved the care and services, I interacted with other patients who shared my predicament. I had a successful surgery, here I am, I am dry, I am back to my everyday duties, I can laugh as loud as I can without fear of leaking, my family is forever grateful. After the therapy calls and counselling, I got to open up and damn I felt freed, new like a heavy load had been lifted of me, Livingstone has also been one strong support system through my healing. Wadadia counselling helped me work on myself better, I am more positive.

She embraces psycho social support services

Wadadia: Rachael, Wadadia is delighted that you are now at a good place, Livingstone, most men in your shoes take off as soon as problems hit the family, but not you, we love the fact that you stood by your family. What is it about this marriage that you would fight this hard to protect?

Livingstone: First I would like to thank Wadadia and Fistula Foundation for giving my wife a second chance at life, my wife is back to normal thanks to your compassion, the treatment did not cost me a cent. To your question, Rachael is my soulmate, I married her for better for worse, and she stood by me.  We have this friendship that I adore, I grew up in abusive family set up and we always felt neglected, I want to break that cycle and give our kids a different outcome. We fought for this marriage hard, I can’t see myself without her, and she gives me this amazing peace and happiness. I want to give them my best.

Wadadia: Rachael, Looking back, are there moments you wish you had made better choices and what choices are you proud of?

Racheal: I wish I had called my husband earlier when I had the contractions, I was ignorant of fistula, sometimes pain rears its ugly head, but I take it in strides. I am thankful of Livingstone’s support, we grieved the loss of our baby together, we share a unique narrative and drifted closer, I am very appreciative of the wadadia support group, the sharing is deep and encouraging, the therapy helps me a lot.

WADADIA: Rachael parting shots?

RACHAEL: Thank you Wadadia for addressing the mental health of survivors, you are saving lives with the therapy sessions. I send my heartfelt appreciation to the Fistula Foundation. Women lets attend hospitals when we get pregnant, any small discomfort is a red flag, seek medical attention. To men let’s support our ladies. My husband looks forward to joining the WADADIA male involvement group. I am joining wadadia reintegration program as a computer and bead work student. I am very hopeful that I will gain employment soon.

WADADIA’S Kakamega County Field Officer Joined the couple.

We stop the interview there. We talk some more on other issues before we say our goodbyes since it’s very late.

We hope that Racheal’s experience will provide other young girls and women suffering from obstetric fistula to reach out to us and access help. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to survivors, their family members and others who have given generously of their time to help with this ongoing success stories.