Josephine’s new start

Josephine had four children when she discovered she was pregnant with a fifth. Despite the fact that she had a C-section in the local hospital, her baby died, and Josephine suffered a childbirth injury called a vesico-vaginal fistula (VVF). This injury is all too common in poorer countries. It is caused by prolonged or difficult labor without timely medical assistance.

The constant leakage of urine resulting from VVF disgusted Josephine’s husband.
Because he had never heard of anyone having such a problem, he decided his wife must have been unfaithful. He accused her of being a prostitute and kicked her out of their home.

She and her three younger children went to Benin to live with her father. To support them all, she made tapioca to sell. But customers were repelled by the smell from her wet clothing and wouldn't buy any food from her. With no other resource, she was reduced to selling trinkets by the roadside.

Gossip and hurtful remarks followed Josephine wherever she went. She was so overwhelmed by shame, she hid in the house. She described her despair. „When I slept and then I woke up, m y bed and everything around me would be wet. I would say to myself, ‘What kind of life is this?'

Her hopes were raised when she heard the Africa Mercy was coming to Benin. She went to a ship’s surgical screening and received an appointment card for surgery.

Following her successful surgery onboard the hospital ship, she celebrated with others the wonderful gift of a return to normal life. „I want to thank God. I want to thank the doctors and all the day-volunteers,“ Josephine said. After seven years, she was dry!

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