succumbing to peer pressure

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Conversation at my apt this morning/afternoon:
"Do you have your 'Control of Communicable Diseases Manual' here?"
"Yeah, it's under that box to your left"

Oh public health students!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

It took Therese Mwandeko a year to save the money. She knew she could walk the first 40 kilometers of her journey, but would need to pay for a lift for the last 20. So she traded bananas and peanuts until she'd saved $1.50 in Congolese francs, then set out for Bukavu. She walked with balled-up fabric clenched between her thighs, to soak up blood that had been oozing from her vagina for two years, since she had been gang-raped by Rwandan militia soldiers who plundered her village in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Finally, she arrived at Panzi Hospital.

Here, Therese takes her place in line, along with 80 women, waiting for surgery to rebuild her vagina. Dr. Denis Mukwege, Panzi's sole gynecologist and one of two doctors in the eastern Congo who can perform such reconstructive surgeries, can repair only five women a week. The air is thick with flies. It reeks from women with fistula: rips in the vaginal wall where rape tore out chunks of flesh separating the bladder and rectum from the vagina.

"Not Women Anymore..." by Staphanie Nolen, in Ms. Magazine

In case you ever wondered, fistula repair is one of the primary things UNFPA funding goes toward. These are the women President Bush doesn't believe are worth our yearly contribution. And with the average hospital visit costing 70 cents, that $5, $10, $20 you manage to scrounge up and send here or here can go an awfully long way.

I know most of you are probably tired of hearing me ask for money for this cause, and I know most of you give all the time and money you can to causes that are important to you. I just can't let this one go...