My name is Amaresh and I think I am 28. My village is in the far remote countryside, three hours walk from the road. My family gets a small income from farming. I help my husband in the field and manage our home.
One year after I got married, I was pregnant with my first child. I was full of joy to become a mother. But when I went into labour, something went wrong. At the end of the first day, my baby had not arrived. A second day passed. And then a third. I was so exhausted.
Finally the baby came out but it did not live. I thought my nightmare must now be over. But when I woke up the next day, the ground and my clothes were wet. While I walked, the urine flooded down my legs and soaked my shoes. I felt so ashamed.
I stayed in my hut alone hoping it would end. People in the village avoided me because they thought I was cursed. I used to wish that I would go to sleep dry for just one night and then die.
After a long year, my father heard that a woman like me had been cured at a hospital in Addis. My family sold cattle to pay for the bus. We could not afford to send two people so I went alone. The journey was difficult as the drivers did not want me to ride.
At the hospital I found love and compassion. I had a bed for the first time. All the staff patiently gave motherly care to a number of women like me.
My fistula was cured and within one month I was completely dry and able to return home. Dr Catherine told me to come back if I got pregnant. She said that when I felt the baby walking around inside my stomach to start walking to hospital.
I wanted to have a baby but I was scared of what could happen. I don’t want this injury to happen even to my enemies. It made me fear to be pregnant.
Some years later, I got pregnant again. I came back to the hospital where I had good food, medical care and time to rest in the gardens. The doctors gave me a caesarean and now I am a mother to a beautiful, healthy baby.
The staff at the hospital let me have my baby safe and vanished my fears. I am so happy and thankful. I have no words to thank them all.
Photo by Amber Hooper