Ever seen Nova’s “A Walk to Beautiful“? I was sure I’d posted about it at ur-B&W but I didn’t find such a post so I guess I didn’t. It was repeated on one of the local PBS stations last night so I saw it for the third time.
It rips my guts out every time. It’s about a hospital in Addis Ababa that repairs fistulas in women, which means it’s about a hospital that receives women who are outcasts, miserable, isolated, lonely, and repairs them. Everything about it is moving.
The real killer is Wubete, who is there for the third time, because the first two didn’t work. They tell her to do exercises and she’s in despair, because she’s been doing them and they don’t work…and she doesn’t want to go home because they all reject her there. Her father forced her to marry as a child – she kept refusing, she kept running away, but finally she got pregnant so she had to stay. She was 11 or 12. It wouldn’t have happened, she says miserable, if her mother had been alive. Then having the stillborn baby destroyed her bladder – and the hospital can’t fix it. Tears roll down her cheeks, and the nurse tells her (very kindly – they’re all very kind at that place) not to be so broken-hearted. Later Wubete goes to the head nurse and says she doesn’t want to go home, is there any way she could stay on? She’s so forlorn. I know how it comes out for her and still it just about kills me to watch it. (*Spoiler)
I always wish I were Bill Gates when I watch it; I would like to give that hospital $1 billion, so that they could repair more than a tiny fraction of the women who need it. But much better would be if Ethiopians and others would stop marrying off girls who are way too young and small to bear children. (One of the saddest things about the Ethiopian women is that they start doing hard labor very young, so they don’t have enough calories to grow, so they are small.)
*It comes out well.