Coulibaly thought nothing would ever be worse than losing her baby after 2 painful days of prolonged, obstructed labor.
Then the dripping started.
A few days after the agony of prolonged labor and despair of losing her child, Coulibaly discovered she had developed an obstetric fistula. Urine dripped uncontrollably from a hole that developed during childbirth when pressure from her undelivered baby destroyed tissue separating her urinary tract and vagina.
Her troubles had just begun.
Two unwelcoming homes
Coulibaly’s baby was conceived out of wedlock. About 68% of Burkinabe women do not use any form of contraceptive.
Her boyfriend’s parents sent her back home, claiming their son was not responsible for the pregnancy or the devastating effects. Coulibaly’s parents sent her back, saying they were not responsible for the situation. Eventually, a police officer settled the matter. Coulibaly would live with her boyfriend’s parents.
Ridicule and isolation awaited her.
Nobody cared about me, and nobody would approach me because of the smell of urine. I experienced insults and humiliations.
During that time, Coulibaly had an unsuccessful repair surgery.
She eventually decided to leave her boyfriend’s parents’ home. She was helping a woman make dolo — a traditional beer — when a local nurse told her she could get free surgery and support through our on-the-ground partners, ARENA and Fondation RAMA.
Coulibaly reclaims her dignity
Coulibaly immediately set out for Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, in search of renewal.
She found it.
Our partners admitted Coulibaly at once. Nurses welcomed her and treated the sores on the inside of her thighs, a painful effect of the urine uncontrollably dripping down her legs. Coulibaly also saw a psychologist who helped her prepare for the surgery.
At 30-years-old, Coulibaly finally received life-changing fistula repair surgery! Our partners have encouraged Coulibaly to enroll in a soap making class — an opportunity she says she won’t pass up.