I was getting everything ready for Mother’s Day, when I read this powerful column by Nicholas D. Kristof “Saving the lives of moms”.
It tells the story of a young Ethiopian woman suffering from fistula after giving birth. More than two million women and girls have fistulas worldwide, the lepers of the 21st century, among the most voiceless and shunned people on earth.
And Kristof talks about Steven Arrowsmith, an American urologist from Grand Rapids, Mich., trying to combat this devastating disease:
“People in America can’t believe I left urology to do this, but this is about changing lives,” which is better than “listening to men tell me about the quality of their erections,” he said. “I’ve had my family held at gunpoint, I’ve had malaria, I’ve had serious exposure to H.I.V., I’ve been separated from family, and I’ve spend about a million hours crammed into coach class on airlines, but it’s worth it. I’d much rather live a meaningful life than a comfortable one.”
Left untreated, women and girls with fistulas become pariahs. Their husbands divorce them, and they are moved to a hut at the edge of the village. They lie there in pools of their waste, feeling deeply ashamed, trying to avoid food and water because of the shame of incontinence, and eventually they die of an infection or simple starvation.”
Today, all of us spend $18 billion on flowers, gifts, things to show appreciation to the mothers in our lives – an occasion worth celebrating. Today is also the day were you could safe the life of a mother by donating $450 (or $37,50 monthly) to cover one woman’s free, safe fistula surgery.
Is there a reason not to?