We were invited to attend the opening ceremony for a fistula clinic that just opened in Danja, a village close to Maradi. It is a beautiful facility that will treat women with obstetric fistulas, and it is a project that is the result of a partnership between the (WFF) Worldwide Fistula Fund and SIM (Serving in Mission). The opening of this clinic is the result of years of planning and hard work, and it will certainly go a long way towards improving the quality of life for a lot of women here in Niger, and in the surrounding countries as well. Nicolas Kristof wrote about this project in the New York Times a few years ago, and now it has become a reality.
Along the way we stopped at the SIM hospital in Galmi, and got a brief tour from Deborah Berruti. She is the hospital’s occupational therapist, and we met her when she came to the CURE hospital for the clubfoot training conference. She has a really great blog that gives wonderful insight into life at their hospital. It is huge!
We got to the hospital at Danja and really enjoyed the ceremony. There were quite a few people there from all walks of life. There were lots of people from the village, kids and adults, and also pastors and missionaries, doctors, nurses and patients, chiefs, a few mayors, a governor, a representative from the Ministry of Public Health and the American Ambassador. Oh, and there was also a Sultan. I am sure I am forgetting some important people, but you get the idea. Speeches were given, the ribbon was cut, and a new place was born that will change the lives of thousands of women. It was a great privilege and honor to be there to witness it.
Just getting to Maradi was an adventure in and of itself. Maradi is about 700 kilometers from Niamey and a good portion of the road is not paved. It was fun for us to get outside of the city and see more of Niger. Josh drove and I made him stop every few minutes so that I could take pictures. Here are some of them: