Saratu is a 25-year-old refugee from Liberia’s civil war. When the gunfire started in her village, Saratu was in labor. Deep in contractions, Saruta fled into the bush. With bullets ringing in the distance, Saruta and the friend she was with faced an awful choice: to stay where they were and die, or to deliver the baby as best they could and keep running.
After several painful and terrifying hours, her friend reached down and pulled the tiny, lifeless infant from Saratu’s body.
As a result of her ordeal, Saratu developed an obstetric fistula which rendered her completely incontinent. Ashamed, afraid and in terrible pain, she survived obstetric hemorrhage and sepsis before finally being cured of her fistula by Dr. Steven Arrowsmith of the Worldwide Fistula Fund aboard the hospital ship Africa Mercy. Despite her many trials, Saratu retained her sense of humor, her capacity to smile and her hope for the future.