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Out of Africa to Warm the Heart

November 9, 2008

fistula290.jpgNot everything out of Africa is grim. My own limited experience of South Africa and Zimbabwe reinforced the need to be alert to what was happening around you. Its just that kind of environment. Not much different to Soho in that regard though. On Saturday the Sydney Morning Herald ran a story on Catherine Hamlin. I had read her book some time ago but she had faded from view. But she hammered back into my consciousness as I was reminded of just how remarkable this woman is. After the appalling(yet hopeful) story of Vestine, here was a story of the poorest and most marginalised (by their fistula wounds) being given love and hope and encouragement. From a woman who is now 84!

But it was this photo, on the front page of the paper which really caught my imagination and tugged at the heart. The Doctor is dancing with one of her patients prior to the patient returning home. Look at the patient’s face – rescued from a life of misery and shame that only fistula wounds can bring, here she is human again with the chance of a normal life.

There are numerous resources about the work Catherine Hamlin does. They all reflect well on her humility, her sacrifice, her energy and her life time calling (clearly retirement is not an option), and her Christian walk.  She went out to Ethiopia in 1959 and is still working there. If you have the luxury of time have a look at some of these – she, her work, but especially her patients are an inspiration. Step carefully – you may be compelled to head off to Ethiopia. Or to similar places and work.

Her Website

ABC Interview, Talking Heads, June 2008

Channel 9 Report July 2008

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