A girl came to the hospital who had both a rectal and vaginal fistula. It was one huge hole; the urethra, the vagina, the rectum, everything was jumbled together.

A visiting surgeon worked an hour and a half to repair the bladder and reconstruct the urethra. She took a break to relieve the stiffness from her shoulders and dove back in, where after another hour and a half, she had reconstructed the rectum and the anal sphincter.

By the time she started rebuilding the vagina, word had spread and some surgeons had come to observe the procedure. While she worked, an awed silence prevailed, but when she finished, the excitement spilled over - some people were clapping, some laughing, unable to believe what they had witnessed. One doctor broke into a hymn, clear and beautiful, and as people joined in, the sound swelled and filled the room.

I began to understand the magnitude of what we could accomplish here, how we could fundamentally improve these women's lives.

  • Liz Mach
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