Transforming lives in Ethiopia

Ache’s Story

Reading time: 2 min

Ache isn’t sure of her birthday but believes she is over 50 years old. When she was a very young woman, Ache gave birth but her labour was painful, lasting 3 whole days. In the end, her baby did not survive and Ache found she could no longer control her bladder. She has lived with this for 30 years. 

Urine soaked her clothing throughout the day and night. She was so ashamed. Ache hid herself away from her husband and family. She thought there was no cure and that this was just how her life had to be.  

Once Ache knew the leaking of her bladder wouldn’t stop, she left her husband and moved back home with her mother. She made herself useful, cooking, cleaning and looking after the few cattle they owned. She spent her youth this way. As she grew older, Ache began to feel weaker and couldn’t work like she used to. She began to feel sick so she visited a Health centre.

When Ache reached the Health centre she told them how she felt sick and couldn’t work anymore. She didn’t even ask about her leaking bladder because she thought it was just a part of life. Ache was amazed when the Health workers told her she could be cured, but she told them she did not have the money. They told Ache that it was free of charge.

Ache was referred to Dr Ambaye and found to have been suffering with obstetric fistula. This was causing her bladder to leak. After living in isolation and shame for over 30 years, Ache was cured in an operation that took 3.5 hours. Ache didn’t have to feel ashamed anymore, she could hold her head up high again. With a new dress Ache returned home, full of hope and enthusiasm for her life ahead.

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