Fatoumata’s Story

Today I am 30 years old. I was 14 when everything turned upside down: my father arranged my marriage, and less than one year later, I was struck down by this terrible and humiliating sickness: urine leakage.

This happened after one week of prolonged and difficult labor. Yes, I spent seven days laboring in the hands of my poor mother and the village women, battling for my life and battling to give birth. But I could not.

On the seventh day, my husband took me from the village to the nearest health center, located 40 km away, where an unqualified health provider pulled the baby out by force. He was dead. The following day, my ordeal started: I could not control my bladder any more.

Photo of Fatoumata
Fatoumata is thankful for support from Kissidougou Hospital.

I went back to the village feeling ashamed. This situation was aggravated by the fact that I had been deserted by my friends, most of my family, and even by my husband, whose family obliged him to take a second wife. At age 15, this isolation was more painful and destroying than my physical handicap. Very often, I thought about suicide.

Then, one year later, my husband came to me, his arms wide open. He took me home and took care of me. I got pregnant three times and gave birth by c-section. Only one of my children survived, and is now 10 years old.

Five years after my accident, my husband received a letter from his brother saying that I could be treated for my urine leakage at the Prefectoral Hospital of Kissidougou. He borrowed money and took me there. I underwent surgery twice in 2006. Today, I am healed, and I have been dignified. I can go to the mosque and do all the things that women can normally do.

It is no doubt that my husband’s love saved me. It is why, whenever I feel loving and full of tenderness, I sing for him a lovely song coming from the bottom of my heart. I sing also for the caregivers who treated me and restored my dignity.