My name is Allan Kember. This is my blog – I welcome you warmly. I am fairly new here too, so you can expect this information to be updated as I carry out my editorial duties.
What is the Gojam Verandah? To me, the Gojam Verandah is a very inspiring place. It represents the epitome of acceptance and compassion for this planet’s most destitute, yet precious, waifs. Located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, it is where the stigma of perhaps the most egregious aftermath of childbirth injury, obstetric fistula, was crushed in a day gone by. It is where the miasma emanating from that disagreeable effluvium plaguing the victims of obstetric fistula was finally overlooked and, probably for the first time since their injury, these dear women were compassionately accepted for who they are – human beings with dignity, rights, and feelings equal to you and I.
On page 112 of her book, “Hospital By The River”, the legendary fistula surgeon, Dr. Catherine Hamlin, gives mention to the Gojam Verandah and the little role it has played in global reproductive health:
“It was not difficult to find a fistula patient. She would usually be standing alone, in the distinctive clothes of the country women, her gabi, or big shawl, usually impregnated with butter to keep out the cold… Then he [Dr. Reg Hamlin] would go to the market to a broken-down old hotel called the Gojam Verandah, which was the only place in the city that would allow the fistula pilgrims to camp outside.”
And so, I thought it quite an honor to name my blog after this inspiring place – the Gojam Verandah.
To learn more about obstetric fistula, I highly recommend watching the stirring documentary, “A Walk to Beautiful“. It’s free to watch and will take ~53 minutes of your time. Another touching video is “Suffering in Silence: Obstetric Fistula in Nepal, Pakistan, and Afghanistan“. It will take ~5 minutes of your time. Here is another one – a ~2 minute preview of Love, Labor, Loss.
“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” – Luke 5:31