My name is Joy. I am 18 years old. I married at 16 and got pregnant at 17.

I went into labour, which lasted for four days without any kind of help. There is no health centre in our remote village so my mother called for a local midwife to come. She said there was no way to help me – my pelvis was very narrow so the baby would not come.

After being in labour for those four days, I started to travel a long distance to the nearest hospital on a motorcycle. I was frightened on the journey. I decided that I did not want to go, and asked to be taken to my sister’s home.

My whole body was in pain. My right leg was numb. The pain lasted for hours. Eventually the baby did not move.

My baby was delivered during the night. A woman came to help and found that there was much blood. My baby had already died. I was leaking urine and faeces from my body.

Eventually I was taken on a five hour journey to a health facility. I was in so much pain that I passed out.

The doctor got an ambulance that transported me to Kivuluni Maternity Centre where the doctors and nurses gave me first aid and blood. I was happy to be alive. I stayed for two weeks, recovering. Eventually I was well enough to go back home.

I was still leaking. When my husband realised my condition he left and went to Kenya. He has not returned.

Maternity Africa’s fistula outreach coordinator called me several months later and asked me to return to Kivulini Maternity Centre to attend for fistula surgery. I met good people there, who supported me and saved my life. I met other women with the same problem as mine.

Two weeks after surgery I feel healthy and comfortable. There is no more leaking. I got hope because everybody encouraged us that we will heal. I thank God and the doctors because without their help I thought I would die. When I return home I will announce to the whole community that fistula can be treated. Asante sana [thank you] and may God bless you so much. 

This is a beautiful story of hope and a life dramatically turned around in the last few weeks here at Kivulini Maternity Centre . Thank you to all our donors and supporters for making stories of Joy possible.

If you would also like to support the work of Maternity Africa, helping people like Joy, please follow the link below. Thank you.

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