Nicholas D's Story, "Half the Sky", tells inspiring stories about women around the developing world, who go through extreme suppression through rape, sexual trafficking, abuse, honor killings, sexism, and so much more. Some of these women have founded non-profits, efforts, businesses, and ways to make income, in order to help suffering women around them, and to rise out of the suppression that they have lived through too.
The book taught me a way women suffer that I hadn’t heard before. Fistula damage is a very serious condition among the developing world, in countries like Ethiopia. Many women lack the basic resources to health care for child labour, so stillbirths are very common, and the mothers are often left with deliberating injuries, one of them being a damaged fistula. This prevents women from having control over the leaking of their feces and urine. This condition leaves them with severely damaged self-esteem, isolation, and depression.
There was one very heartbreaking and touching story that perfectly demonstrates the suffering that women go through in having damaged fistulas. However, with access to adequate healthcare, she was able to change her life.
By the time a woman named Simeesh Segaye came to the hospital for giving birth, the baby was dead. When Simeesh returned to her village, she began leaking urine and feces. She was humiliated from the constant smell of her wastes. When the bus came along, for her family to take her back to the hospital, the other passengers took one whiff at her and ordered her off. Any prospect of repair vanished, and Simeesh's husband then abandon her.
Her parents stood by her, but they couldn't abide with her odor, so they built a separate hut for her. Every day they tried to bring her food and water. Simeesh stayed every day alone in that hut, alone, ashamed, and helpless.
Succumbing to depression, she reverted to a fetal position, never wanting to move again. She remained curled up that way for two straight years. She barely ate and drank, because the more she ate or drank, the more waste trickled down her leg. So, she began to starve to death.
However, with her loving family, willing to sell all of their assets to help their daughter, they ended up taking Simeesh to a hospital. In the end, Simeesh's fistula was repaired, and she was able to stretch her legs and walk on her own unassisted.
A hospital in Ethiopia, known as the Hamilton Fistula Hospital, is on the mission to help stop this problem.
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