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Field visit – Jahun #Part III

Fistula victim interview, Jigawa State, April 2018. Photo by Maro Verli part3

Fistula victim interview, Jigawa State, April 2018. Photo by Maro Verli part3

They call it ‘Jahun paradise’ and I never got why and how this started until my recent last visit. Jahun is a city in the southern Nigeria where MSF runs a maternity, neonatal and an obstetric fistula unit at the Ministry of Health General Hospital. Yes, I know… I also didn’t understand when I arrived what are all these and why MSF needs to intervene. It’s not an emergency situation! Well… let’s see.

#Story 3

After the VVF discharge ceremony, I am visiting a patient’s house in a village near to Jahun with a journalist. The car is turning right from the main paved street to dirt roads. A small village with huts and walls made of mud bricks.

While the MSF car is crossing the pathways of the village in order to reach the house, the kids are frightened and they are running to hide. The same will happen when I will get out of the car particularly with the babies. Probably, they’ve never seen a ‘white’ person and probably, for them, I am either an alien or a ghost…

 

Patient’s husband is welcoming us in his house. There are two rooms, one for the goats and the chickens and another one for the family. The yard is a crossing for the other inhabitants of the village. The toilet is behind the wall. It’s a hole in the ground.

While the patient speaks to the journalist all the people and especially the kids are surrounding us. Suddenly, tears are coming from the patient’s eyes. I don’t know what she is talking about but I suspect that she is talking about her experience.

When she realised that she was injured and suffered from fistula, she was afraid that her husband and her family would reject her. She had heard several similar cases, where women had been living isolated for the rest of their lives.’ said the local Nigerian journo.

‘I see, that’s why she is crying… but this now belongs to the past…’, I said in order to overcome the awkward moment.

‘No, she doesn’t cry for that…’, he said

Then what…

She is crying because she doesn’t know how to thank MSF for the support. Without them (the staff) her life would be absolutely different…’.

In the end, her husband offered me a guinea-fowl as a gift in order to thank MSF.

A live guinea-fowl… that a couple of hours later, Mercy, the cook in the house, took care of it and now is in the fridge of the base-house of Jahun.

Now, it’s me that I am trying to hold my tears. It’s me that I am proud to be a small, very tiny part of that organisation. It’s me that I bear great respect for all the staff who stays for months away from their comfort zone, very far from any kind of normal and social life in order to support these women. That woman that today wore her best traditional clothes and honoured herself in the ceremony with her mother.

 

#TrueFact: At the end of the day, the gynaecologist told me that during her 4week mission, the number of the deliveries she did is equal to the number of deliveries she does in the US… for the whole year.

#TrueStory: The driver told me that his father has 31 children with 3 wives. He wants only 3 kids. Now, they are discussing with his first wife and his future second wife the new arrangement and who is gonna do what…

#the conclusion: Indeed, Jahun project is a paradise. It’s the paradise for all these women that found a better quality of medical support and a new way for a new life. And for this paradise, MSF Jahun team gives all the efforts to maintain this paradise.

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