Aoko Nusura went from“darling” to dirt.
At 18-years-old, Nusura endured three days of obstructed labor while delivering her third child, only to develop a fistula. She lost her child, the ability to control her body’s most basic functions and the love of a husband who once called her “darling.”
My husband physically battered me, called me names and denied me any assistance as a wife.
Fistula is common among impoverished women and girls living in areas where a woman’s status and self-esteem are closely tied to her marital status and ability to bear children, according to the World Health Organization. Between 50,000 and 100,000 women and girls worldwide develop fistula each year.
Nusura returned to her father’s home ashamed and began wrapping herself in layers of clothing to stop the urine dripping onto her legs and wetting her dress. She was able to make brief public appearances this way.
Her father supported her financially and emotionally, always hopeful they would find a treatment. Nusura’s mother and sisters stuck with her after her father’s death. They endured abject poverty and social shunning, because they did not abandon Nusura.
Having lost all hope after six years of suffering, it was Nusura’s mother who encouraged her to seek treatment when a TERREWODE community volunteer offered to take her to a doctor at Koboko Hospital, where she was later referred to Arua Regional Referral Hospital.
Nusura received free surgical treatment and completed a two week Social Reintegration Program through TERREWODE’s support. She plans to use the entrepreneurial skills she learned to sell silver fish at the local market and enroll in a savings and credit group.
Nusura smiles so much now, it’s practically etched on her face.
I had lost hope in life, I had no dreams, but that is all history. I’m ready to work on my big plans to change my situation. I’m on my journey for a new beginning, and I thank TERREWODE for finding me.