Binta is 35 years old and from Fidi, a landlocked village in northwestern Guinea. At 14 years old she was forced to marry a much older man, and soon became pregnant. After five days of painful labor, she lost her baby. A few days later, she realized that she was not able to control her urine. Binta spoke with her aunt who alerted her other family members, and together they decided to request the services of a traditional healer. The family sold their two goats to pay the traditional healer, whose services did nothing to heal Binta’s fistula.
Little by little Binta became isolated from her friends. She felt ashamed, and eventually went to the neighboring country, Guinea-Bissau, to seek treatment. She spent nine months there working as a housekeeper, sometimes even begging to survive, but still did not have enough money for treatment, so finally returned home to Guinea.
One day, Binta’s uncle heard a rural radio message inviting women like her to the local hospital for treatment. Binta went straight from her village to the hospital and, following an examination by a doctor, she and three other women were transported to Jean Paul II Hospital in the capital city, Conakry. Binta was required to stay for observation for 21 days before the surgery to ensure she was not affected by the Ebola virus, after which she finally received the surgery she had been waiting for 20 long years…and it was a success! Overjoyed, Binta exclaimed, “Unbelievably, I am dry! No more leakage, no more bad smell! It’s just a miracle!”
This article was originally featured in our Fall 2015 newsletter. Click here to read the entire newsletter.