Darkroom Gallery: Multiples Exhibit

One of my photos created while on assignment with Hamlin Fistula Hospital was selected by juror William Albert Allard to be in Darkroom Gallery’s “Multiples” show. The exhibit opens September 14 in Essex Junction, Vermont.

These women each had been treated for fistula and were living in Hamlin’s rehabilitation center, Desta Mender, where they learned new skills such as reading, writing and math after their surgeries were completed.

Many women are ostracized by their villages when they develop a fistula, and often they must find new ways of supporting themselves. Undaunted by their struggles, they form a bond while residing at the hospital and help each other heal emotionally. New confidence is found, and together they help each other find new paths to walk, unbridled by the injury they suffered.

Fistulas can develop many ways, but most often it occurs due to obstructed labor. Dr. Catherine Hamlin saw the great need for prevention efforts and developed a midwifery college where young village girls are trained in midwifery and other maternal health care actions in Addis Ababa after which they return to their villages to provide much needed care in their remote home areas.

It has been an honor to stand in front of these brave women, the fistula survivors and the new midwives, and realize how devoted they are to their own healing and to the healing of others.

 

Desta Mender graduates 2015

Desta Mender graduates 2015

Hamlin Midwife Stories

A large part of my work now entails more than just capturing the still image. I am often asked to collect video and professional sound so that the content can be edited into small video stories or other applications. Here are two examples from my work documenting Hamlin midwives in Ethiopia.

Scrolling story

Video

 

Hamlin Midwife

The Guardian: Hamlin Article

Today, May 23, we celebrate International End Fistula Day.  May we band together to rally around the women who do not have access to health care and surgical procedures that can prevent this devastating condition.

The Guardian published an article about Dr. Hamlin and her life long quest to see the eradication of this condition.

Dr. Hamlin's 90th Birthday

Dr. Catherine Hamlin Turns 90!

I had the honor of attending Dr. Catherine Hamlin’s 90th birthday party this month, and what a celebration it was!

Dr. Hamlin’s many decades of work surrounding maternal health in the area of fistula repair and prevention has earned her a well deserved Nobel Peace Prize nomination this year so there were many reasons to celebrate her life.

She was joyous and curious during the whole event, and even came to an intimate dinner party that same night.  She is an incredible inspiration to many!

Nicholas Kristof wrote an article about her, and Oprah made a generous donation to the hospital in her honor.

I am hoping to be able to devote more time to the organization she started.  First up: a redesign of their website and assistance with a revamped communications plan.

And yes, relaying more stories regarding how Hamlin Fistula Hospital saves and improves the lives of rural Ethiopian women.

Dr. Hamlin's 90th Birthday

Dr. Hamlin's 90th Birthday

Dr. Hamlin's 90th Birthday

Dr. Hamlin's 90th Birthday

Ethiopia: Hamlin College of Midwives

Join me as I travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to meet some of the world’s bravest women as they support each other by reducing infant and maternal mortality and the occurrence of the physically and emotionally devastating condition of fistula.

It is a great honor to be asked to visit the Hamlin College of Midwives to capture the essence of their 2011 graduation ceremony. On October 15, 2011, the Hamlin Fistula College of Midwives will graduate a second class of trained midwives. After the ceremony, these newly trained women will return to their rural villages to care for new mothers and assist extremely difficult deliveries.

Every day, 1,000 women and 8,000 babies die due to complications from pregnancy or childbirth. And for each maternal death, at least 20 additional women suffer devastating injuries related to their simple desire to produce a family to help work the fields to sustain their food source.  These World Health Organization statistics are sobering, especially when contrasted with the kind of care that is received elsewhere in the world.

The Hamlin College of Midwives is responding to this crisis by training local rural women much needed midwifery skills and supporting them as they set up services in their rural home villages.

Come along as we celebrate these midwives and the mothers of Ethiopia!  I will be documenting this momentous occasion, as well as other aspects of the beautiful and innovative Ethiopian culture. I will also be writing guest blog entries on Phil Borges’ Stirring the Fire website.

We are hoping that a collective cheer from around the world will be heard as these Ethiopian women extend one of the most loving gestures to one another: helping a mother deliver the life that grew inside of her.

Each midwife has been able to be trained without having to pay fees, which they could never afford. Your help is critical in making this possible. Donations for the midwife college are being accepted now at the Hamlin Fistula USA website.

For Dr. Catherine Hamlin’s story, read about her book here.

Ethiopia: Dr. Catherine Hamlin

Holy cow! An interview with Dr. Hamlin!

We thought we would be lucky just to be able to meet her and shake her hand. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would be granted an interview and the ability to photograph and film her. We make our way back to the hotel to pick up the equipment and Jay and I cannot help but express our giddiness…and concerns. We had not had time to test out all of the equipment and work flow, thinking that our first interview would not occur until days later. Some of the equipment was purchased hours before we got on the plane, so one can only imagine how we felt going into this interview.

Sound levels ok? Camera functioning? Will everything talk to each other?

We then turn to preparing some questions for her. She is 87 years old and still performs surgery. She came to Ethiopia in the 70’s, thinking she and her husband would stay here for only a few years. The fistula patients made a great impression on their hearts, enough so that they decided to dedicate their lives to this work. A very interesting subject indeed!

On the bumpy taxi drive back, Jay is still testing sound levels to make sure the H4N works properly. I am lost in my head, thinking about how to set up the camera with the least amount of fuss and intrusion.

Dr. Hamlin enters the room, her tall and graceful stature filling the space. Her kind eyes fix on us, and we are instantly at ease. The door opens again, and in walks Mamitu, the famous illiterate surgeon who was once a poor fistula patient and learned how to repair fistulas by working alongside surgeons rather than complete formal training.

My eyes fill with tears as I look at these two women who have had such a profound effect on fistula patients’ lives. It is such an honor to be in their presence.

Jay and I quickly set up the equipment, and we get started on the interview. Our questions were not really a necessity, as Dr. Hamlin has many things to say to us from her own agenda and determination.

Copyright 2017 Joni Kabana. All rights reserved. Site by TD