My Practical Experience of Poverty

8Sr. Sophie Émile Dioh, sfp10

During my formation in Koungheul, I went with Sister Rose Ndong to the clinic for two weeks. One morning a young woman on a cart driven by her mother arrived.

She was in very serious condition, and the nursing staff gave her immediate and urgent care.  They found that there was a risk of a miscarriage and she was bleeding heavily. Given her young age, her condition was very critical. She was thirteen years old and the male nurses decided to transfer her to the hospital of Koungheul.

After talking with her mother, we learned that she was already married. It is in the tradition of the Fula people to get married at about her age, bringing about harsh consequences to this poor mother. Two years ago this young woman had lost a baby girl in similar circumstances.


I was both shocked and helpless before this tragedy, which could have been prevented if the people were not so deeply accustomed to their tradition of child marriage. Situations like this make me more conscious of my own poverty. Nevertheless, what can I do? How can these populations become aware of the multiple and often deadly dangers that threaten the girls who get married so precociously?

I believe that one day things will change. We regularly talk about these matters at the clinic, but it is very difficult to change the mentality of an ethnic group.

Sr. Sophie Émile Dioh, sfp

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