Life after spinal cord injury in Africa with Faustina Urassa

Imagine waking up in hospital discovering you have not only broken your spine and will never walk again.

But then learning that you are also pregnant.

When Faustina was about to start university in Tanzania in the year 2000, this was what she was facing.

And today you will hear her story.

Faustina Urassa is a spinal cord injury thriver, and founder and Executive Director at Songambele Initiative Organisation.

Being a woman in Africa isn’t easy.

And Faustina saw being a disabled woman in Africa as a death sentence.

This is a story of a woman who not only came from a challenging experience, but one who refused to accept the status quo on all fronts and thrived as a result.

Today we hear about the challenges she faced in the early years. No one in her family, including her, knew what a spinal cord injury was, let alone what it meant for her life moving forward.

There wasn’t clear information on how someone with a spinal cord injury could safely deliver a baby. Would her disability compromise the health of her child?

Was it even possible for her to ever be independent again?

Faustina takes us on a journey from a spinal cord injury victim to a spinal cord injury thriver.

We hear about how her life changed when she met others going through similar situations as her.

She tells us about the power of self-awareness and self-acceptance.

And the power and importance of community.

Which all lead to why she founded Songambele.

We hear about what life looks like for people once they have come into contact with Songambele and the power that is Faustina.

This is one inspirational story. So, grab that favourite beverage or throw on those running shoes, and enjoy this conversation.

And please don’t forget to let us know what you think of this episode, leave a review and subscribe.

And if you want to support Songambele, you can reach them here and donate here.

00:00:02:05 – 00:00:27:03
Philippa White
Welcome to the show, where we unearth new ways of looking at ever evolving lights around the world. Seen from a number of different industries, cultures and backgrounds. But there’s one thing that unites everyone I speak to. They all want to do their part to make the world better in their own unique ways. It’s a uniting passion. Whether they’re from the commercial world, third sector or public sector from the Global North or the global south.

00:00:27:15 – 00:01:02:07
Philippa White
My name is Philippa White and welcome to TIE Unearthed. What is life after a spinal cord injury? How about if you’re from a place like Kilimanjaro, Tanzania? And to add to that, a woman. Hello and welcome to episode 68 of TIE Unearthed. Today I’m speaking with Faustina Raza, a spinal cord injury thriver and founder and executive director at Sangam Belly Initiative Organization.

00:01:03:06 – 00:01:32:04
Philippa White
When Faustina was about to start her life with her fiancee, tragedy struck. She woke up one day in hospital after a horrible car accident, discovering she had not only had a spinal cord injury but was also pregnant. She initially saw this as a death sentence, but due to her positive attitude, infectious energy and sheer determination, her story was different.

00:01:32:22 – 00:02:04:21
Philippa White
Faustina now has 18 years of experience working with people with spinal cord injuries in Africa, is a master trainer on peer to peer education, and has made it her mission to empower people with spinal cord injuries, helping them live decent lives with dignity and happiness. Today we hear Faustina story, the story of sunken belly and why we look forward to supporting their important work this year through our TIE programs.

00:02:05:14 – 00:02:12:06
Philippa White
So grab that favorite beverage or throw on those running shoes. And here is Faustina.

00:02:12:06 – 00:02:28:07
Philippa White
Faustina, thank you so much for joining us today. It is just it’s really lovely to get a chance to properly meet you on this conversation. And to hear about all of the incredible work that you do. Thank you for being here.

00:02:28:11 – 00:02:35:16
Faustina Urassa
Thanks so much for having me, especially today on air. And Valentine’s Day for Valentine’s?

00:02:35:22 – 00:02:42:13
Philippa White
Yes, Valentine’s Day. Wonderful. I couldn’t actually think of anything better to be doing on Valentine’s Day to tell you the truth.

00:02:43:04 – 00:02:43:19
Faustina Urassa
So absolutely.

00:02:43:19 – 00:02:48:23
Philippa White
Perfect. Absolutely. Tell me, where are you right now?

00:02:49:13 – 00:03:01:12
Faustina Urassa
Well, I am in Tanzania and at the highest mountain of Kilimanjaro. So as I’m talking, I’m looking at Mt. Kilimanjaro now. Yes.

00:03:01:13 – 00:03:23:00
Philippa White
Oh, well, I’m covered in goosebumps. I was born in South Africa and there’s a band in South Africa. Johnny Clegg was the singer. I don’t know if you you probably know of Johnny Clegg. And there there’s a band called Chalupa, and I think they created a second band called Sambuca. And there’s a song called I’m Sitting On the Top of Kilimanjaro.

00:03:23:01 – 00:03:29:10
Philippa White
Wow. And so I always think of that when I when I think of Kilimanjaro.

00:03:29:19 – 00:03:31:15
Faustina Urassa
You should come and visit you and then.

00:03:32:01 – 00:03:53:07
Philippa White
I definitely should come and visit one day. I definitely should. You and your work is extremely inspirational, and I would just love for people to understand about it. But I think let’s back up a little bit and help people understand a little bit about you and your story. And then if you could let us know how and why the organization was set up.

00:03:53:13 – 00:04:17:14
Faustina Urassa
Yeah, I was born in Tanzania, under the highest mountain on Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. Yes. In 2000 and when I was about to join the university, I was involved in a very terrible car accident. And then I was taken to the hospital. And after some time, I was told divorce, you know, can never be able to walk again.

00:04:18:00 – 00:04:31:14
Faustina Urassa
That was a death sentence to me. Yeah. But again, I’m quite often being told you will never be able to again. It turned out also I was pregnant.

00:04:32:05 – 00:04:32:20
Philippa White
Oh, my God.

00:04:33:10 – 00:04:59:11
Faustina Urassa
And this is because I was in a relationship as well with someone. I thought yours might have aspired to be. And I was at the hospital, AZT, and he was told that firstly, now he’s admitted it. Of course, he can’t see me, but at that time, nobody knew what was happening. Nobody knew what if it was, you know, to be able to walk again or not.

00:04:59:20 – 00:05:31:19
Faustina Urassa
And this is because they knew I was it was difficult to accept. They knew was that your spine is damaged. But my family or the people around me didn’t know what the meaning of that. And I remember one of the doctor, I mean, occupational therapist student, came to the ward and asked, please, Fatima, and he was told she that she came straight to me and said, Fatima, do you know what happened to you?

00:05:32:04 – 00:05:57:09
Faustina Urassa
I said, I know, yes, I was involved in a car accident and I cannot walk at the moment because my legs are broken or something like that. And she said, No, this is what you call spinal cord injury. You’ll never be able to walk again for the rest of your life. It was such a shocking to me. I wanted to stand up in just last year, but I could not.

00:05:58:02 – 00:06:20:17
Faustina Urassa
I started crying and I was crying and I was thinking that I was pregnant and I was told never again. So I thought it was the end of my life. Yeah. When my partner was told about me, about my pregnancy, he came to me and said, I’m listening to your voice, you know, what do you want me to do?

00:06:21:02 – 00:06:46:07
Faustina Urassa
Because he was a very famous man and well-off. And I remember one of the doctor when he realized I was pregnant. He was all that. My money went straight to my father saying, Mr. Reza, he talked to him and told him, your daughter will never be able to work again. But the good news is that she’s going to be a great man again.

00:06:46:18 – 00:06:52:15
Faustina Urassa
It always is shocking. So I listened to my father. Sorry. Mean.

00:06:53:05 – 00:06:57:11
Philippa White
That’s just a lot of information to know. God, I can’t even imagine. Yes.

00:06:57:19 – 00:07:13:18
Faustina Urassa
Well, it’s a difficult. And my father cried and cried and cried. And then he. She called my sister. We are six girls in our family and one boy. So he told the girls, you know how many girls? Six girls.

00:07:14:02 – 00:07:15:20
Philippa White
Six girls. Oh, my God.

00:07:15:20 – 00:07:36:20
Faustina Urassa
Yes, it’s one. One, boy. The boys. Get up and he told them, you have to look up to see now because had been told she would never be able to look, walk it again, being cried as if I was dead. Is it? But all in all, they were out there to support me. They were there to help me.

00:07:37:10 – 00:08:15:21
Faustina Urassa
And I remember I was involved in the taxi in car accident 20 in 2000, in July and in December, my partner, after some time, he said, I need to take off so that I can come to stay with you at the hospital taking care of him. And then, yes, he took three weeks. Let’s leave. He came for two days or three days, if I remember correctly, a Daily Mirror by some of his friends, one of his friend was a physiotherapist and he told me, he asked me he a friend asked me, does he know?

00:08:15:21 – 00:08:39:05
Faustina Urassa
That will never be like what happened to. I said, I don’t know. And then they said, they say we need to tell him. So his friend went. All came. They went somewhere. They went and told him, you need to be very close to Faustina, because what happened to her is that you’ll never be able again. And he’s expecting you, Chad.

00:08:39:16 – 00:09:08:07
Faustina Urassa
Oh, God, she cried. He was shocked. He came and told me what he was told did that was a goodbye message. Oh, gosh, he didn’t say goodbye. No, he just disappeared. So he disappeared. At the time when I needed him to the most. Yeah. And that I, I was crying, you know, like now praying that I’m going to have a baby and baby’s.

00:09:08:07 – 00:09:33:15
Faustina Urassa
Maybe I’m going to have a baby with the disability because I a with disability and I was thinking I will die and I was thinking I am a I’m going to be a beggar because I will never be able to do anything at all in our thinking how my child they will feel to find out her mother is a woman with a disability.

00:09:34:02 – 00:09:54:15
Faustina Urassa
You know, it is shame. I dunno is what I was thinking. So by the time they disappeared it didn’t show out. My sister, we are there to support me. And I helped him. He’s trained. What is he going to bhumika? A woman with a disability. A woman. Woman cannot go to fetch water. You know Africa. A woman is one who can do everything.

00:09:54:21 – 00:10:11:04
Faustina Urassa
A woman will need to be able to talk. A woman who would never be able to do anything. You know, I was about to go to university and just had a woman, you know, negativity all over my head, in my heart and everywhere.

00:10:11:13 – 00:10:15:00
Philippa White
Understandable. I mean, gosh, yeah.

00:10:15:14 – 00:10:42:24
Faustina Urassa
Oh, I concluded that he’s right. Let him go. So by the time I realized that what he did was not right, I had already forgotten about him. So to keep it a very long story short, it again, it was our feeling that I will go to the theater. But bad day for but how do you call it caesarean?

00:10:43:11 – 00:10:48:09
Philippa White
Caesarean section is the string section ailing member.

00:10:48:22 – 00:11:35:06
Faustina Urassa
I was crying day and night. Why me? God, why? We got the box the day I went to the liberal. The spinal cord injury has a lot of complication, so I was taking that case is incomplete because I was living with terrible pains, you know, and then been the labor pains. So what I remember on that today when I was doing rehabilitation and physical, I spent a lot of women with the cheating, with the disability, and they were talking about a vacuum, some pretty they had to deal with the disability and they were saying, you know, during baths, they used the vacuum to pull my daughter away, my child.

00:11:35:06 – 00:12:02:08
Faustina Urassa
And that is why he became disabled. The idea that stuff like that. So I was very worried in Delisi vacuum because it will be able to push it. My daughter, my child, we ended up being a child with the disability. So when I was in labor act out I was traveling for some hours. I remember when my son was say up, it looks like she’s about to get back, that the path is open, you know.

00:12:02:19 – 00:12:31:11
Faustina Urassa
And they called their specialists to come and they say, yes, you say you can see the head. Then I just it was my face, baby. Remember I tried to force and the necessary she did something and she asked me, can you try? She passed. I pushed for the second time you see over this good pass before they had the time and I had the voices.

00:12:31:11 – 00:12:34:08
Philippa White
Oh my gosh.

00:12:34:15 – 00:13:12:10
Faustina Urassa
We had almost 14 house baby girls cry. I want to say to Faustina, congratulation putting the baby a baby on my chest. Concentration, concentration. My sister it is a baby girl Philippon I now I guy and I again a didn’t that was the end of my tears then he has a guide on my piece of March 2021 was the tears of joy of happiness, and it was bittersweet.

00:13:12:10 – 00:13:18:05
Faustina Urassa
Okay, then your doll. For my life and for our lives. Wow.

00:13:18:15 – 00:13:19:11
Philippa White
Amazing.

00:13:20:02 – 00:13:45:15
Faustina Urassa
I remember everybody was calling in his delivery. It was a normal delivery. It is a baby girl. They called one of my sister and when she came, she is the one who was spending so much time with me. We are even living together now. So one day I told her her name was my bed waiting to bring suicide so that I can eat and die.

00:13:46:00 – 00:14:07:11
Faustina Urassa
I am useless in this well. So that day when he came to labor, he knocked the door and it takes. He was about to take someone to take something from my hand back saying, Fatima, I have brought you something they poisoned you asked me to bring. And this is because when he she opened the door, I looked at to have a smile.

00:14:07:17 – 00:14:32:09
Faustina Urassa
So he saw some changes on my face. Mm hmm. So he teased on me. I bring something. I think. What? This is a poison. I, I hold my baby with love. And I said, Margaret, go and get it yourself. Wow. And this is him. Because now I had something to think about and forgot about my disability. At that time, rehabilitation was not.

00:14:32:22 – 00:15:04:09
Faustina Urassa
Was not good at all. It was like a tragedy here. But I was admitted for one year and he in the hospital. But I didn’t develop what they call pressure, so I don’t because my sister’s a mess. And doctors, they tried so hard to make sure I delivered safely and healthy. So when I was discharged, that is when I started to see that what I had to thinking, what am I going to do for my baby?

00:15:04:09 – 00:15:26:05
Faustina Urassa
I cannot just sit in the I was living in my sister’s house. I said, I cannot just sit and wait for her to be. She started giving some thought. They done looking after my baby. I said, No, no, I need to do something. So I remember one of our family friend visited and he was making some tablecloths he was doing.

00:15:26:05 – 00:15:29:02
Faustina Urassa
Croce Is it approaching crochet?

00:15:29:16 – 00:15:32:16
Philippa White
Crochet? Yes, crochet. Excuse my.

00:15:32:18 – 00:15:33:01
Faustina Urassa
English.

00:15:33:07 – 00:15:39:09
Philippa White
No, it’s. But I only know because my daughter, she’s she loves crochet. She does so much crochet. Yes.

00:15:39:09 – 00:16:04:08
Faustina Urassa
That’s amazing. So I, she taught me I was making some tablecloths, something that we use in Africa a lot to put them in the college and a sofa on the table. So when people people were coming was coming to visit my sister. Oh, just coming to see me. They were look, they look what’s a they look at them, they were impressed and they were supporting me.

00:16:04:19 – 00:16:15:08
Faustina Urassa
Yeah, I can tell you I made a lot of women happy. I would say we are good enough, all the gang. But it was our sympathy. I don’t know.

00:16:15:08 – 00:16:16:11
Philippa White
But sympathy.

00:16:17:11 – 00:16:43:23
Faustina Urassa
But if it was sympathy, I don’t know. But I met a lot of women. I even hired someone to come and stay with me in my sister’s house so that he can look after me in my daughter. But because by that time, I was not the active enough, and then after some time I had an opportunity to go to South Africa with him, to habitation camp, to learn about life after spinal cord injury.

00:16:44:07 – 00:17:02:10
Faustina Urassa
When I went there, it was pulled up again too. In December I met a lot of people who had the same sick who are going through the same situation. They said people were in a wheelchair, you know, they had Ebola and then they have a spinal cord injury and they were doing a lot of things for their home.

00:17:02:22 – 00:17:26:02
Faustina Urassa
And I was up asking them, can you feel your bladder? Can you feel your bladder? Can you feel your balance? Can you move? You know, we are very smart. Look, good, good, good looking. Yeah. That they have very high self-esteem indeed. They have accepted themselves. So I started to laugh from them. We laughed a lot about Ebola management.

00:17:26:04 – 00:17:46:24
Faustina Urassa
A had a management is skin skin care. You are right pride issues but I would just kill transfer from the bed to bed with you. And those are the things my sisters used to do to me, like taking care of me from the woodshed to the bed, you know, to the car. But in South Africa, I was encouraged to go myself.

00:17:47:04 – 00:17:47:14
Philippa White
Yeah.

00:17:48:00 – 00:17:49:13
Faustina Urassa
Without assistant.

00:17:49:13 – 00:18:04:00
Philippa White
Amazing. It’s the power of community, isn’t it? It’s the same with so many types of communities. But yes. Isn’t that powerful? Because you said, oh my gosh, you do that? And I thought of that and you’re managing to do that. I can do it too. And yeah. Amazing.

00:18:04:18 – 00:18:31:20
Faustina Urassa
Yeah, I do wonder. I lament for someone who is going through the same thing, the weight room that I will be no excuse, obviously try and be the time again. So I learned a lot when I come back from South Africa. I was independent. I had gave myself my self-esteem. I couldn’t transform myself to the bed, to let you know everywhere.

00:18:31:20 – 00:19:00:23
Faustina Urassa
And now I feel I saved holidays to get out and meet people. Yeah, I do. When they come back. That is when I gave my daughter something, went to school and I used to go with her when it was in the road. Everybody can look at us. Did my daughter can jump at a seat on my lap in a wheelchair and the other children were just jealous that to lose mother is in a wheelchair and she’s.

00:19:00:23 – 00:19:07:18
Philippa White
Getting a ride. I have to walk to school. You get a ride? Yeah.

00:19:08:07 – 00:19:33:17
Faustina Urassa
Oh I did. They went what camp. Which on the road and she’s on my lap and they can come to know that your mother had met you. So that is how I started. And then because I lacked a lot in Cape Town, I started volunteering, went to the referral hospital, head to Majuro, which is a Kilimanjaro Christian, said they were sent to medical.

00:19:34:05 – 00:20:10:14
Faustina Urassa
I started when they opened ten bases and did teaching people shouting what to how glad we are people despite a body injury to encourage them to go home. It was it was not easy, you know, because people say you are pretending are your identity because I’m positive. So that is how I started and I started working with the and as it should not be nobody nature I can tell you feedback I went through a lot and that is because I met a lot in the South Africa and had so many opportunity to do a lot of things.

00:20:10:17 – 00:20:26:17
Faustina Urassa
That organization. And then I even started the women department where we can meet and talk about the issue we are going through. You know, as a women in Africa, we are women, but we’ve got a woman with a disability. That is when you can facing multiple discrimination.

00:20:26:23 – 00:20:45:22
Philippa White
It would be really great to understand the start of the organization, but what would be so great to understand in a little bit more detail for our listeners is what are the challenges that you face in the part of the world that you’re in? What is the reality on the ground, particularly for women, for women with spinal cord injuries?

00:20:45:22 – 00:20:48:05
Philippa White
What is yeah, what is that reality?

00:20:48:14 – 00:21:21:03
Faustina Urassa
Being a woman is a struggle. But when you are a woman with a disability, that is when you travel that they go through multiple challenge as compared to women without a disability. You are talking about equality. But even our say the women, they forgot about women who have a disability. They think that we are sick. They think that we don’t have the ability to do what they are doing.

00:21:21:03 – 00:21:44:01
Faustina Urassa
They think that you look like women with a disability in the activity is like they will be late to reach where they want to reach. They think about women with a disability. We demand a lot. They think that they should feel is sympathy and not empathy.

00:21:44:16 – 00:21:45:01
Philippa White
Yes.

00:21:45:12 – 00:21:46:15
Faustina Urassa
Which is very wrong.

00:21:47:15 – 00:22:08:23
Philippa White
In sympathy and not empathy. Yes. Thank you. I know what you meant. I just wanted to make sure that other people are thinking, can you talk to us about some compelling and how the institute works and what is it that you do and why do people join it and what’s the impact that you make? Well, after.

00:22:08:23 – 00:22:30:18
Faustina Urassa
Going through a lot as a woman with a disability, I find that I was not the one, the only one who went through this, what I was went through. And this is when you are a woman with a disability, your partner will run away from you. But for most of men who have said who have a spinal cord injury, they are partner.

00:22:30:18 – 00:23:03:24
Faustina Urassa
It was paid to them. And when we are talking about the issue of bowel management, these are they are better confidential issues. We don’t talk about, you know, talking about issues of bowel rehab that people wouldn’t like talking about these issues. And then when you take a moment in talking about this issue, about the bladder pressure, menstruation, the challenging relationship, talking about economy, and then how can you talk about sexuality?

00:23:04:02 – 00:23:31:14
Faustina Urassa
How about can you talk about balance? How can you talk about sexuality? When they’re talking about sexuality? We don’t talk about sexuality. We talk about sex as well because now we can not move our body, you know, so we speak these things openly. And then I find that women and girls cannot okay now, but men can talk about their partner, can talk about this time, can talk about erection, they can talk about ejaculation.

00:23:31:14 – 00:23:45:12
Faustina Urassa
But when you actually talk about the loop, about about like it, these are prostitutes. But for me I can talk about sex is if I’m talking about a cup of tea and and no but.

00:23:45:12 – 00:24:00:06
Philippa White
Thank goodness because people learn there’s a role model that they look up to that has that comfort. Then younger girls, younger people or even people of your age can also, oh, if she can do it, I can do it too then.

00:24:00:06 – 00:24:22:04
Faustina Urassa
So absolutely, absolutely. So. So I find that a lot of women, they are not I have run away, but they cannot speak up because if they speak up, the community will say or the other group would say he’s right. Was he he’s he’s he wont to do with a woman with a disability. So that’s why I find that not we cannot do this.

00:24:22:17 – 00:24:46:22
Faustina Urassa
We have to come up with something where we can sit together and raise our voice, talk about the challenge we went through and to come up with best solution. So that’s why we come up with this organization where women, girls will come together. All this talk about what you are going to find a solution, but to go to the community to say, hey, we are here, we are women, we have.

00:24:46:22 – 00:24:47:08
Faustina Urassa
Right?

00:24:47:19 – 00:24:50:17
Philippa White
How long has Sunken Belly been going for?

00:24:50:17 – 00:25:17:11
Faustina Urassa
Well, so momentum was started in 2008. Okay. And registered officially 2008. And what does that mean? We are teaching people life skills. We go to the hospital, we carry them. We have what is called peer to peer application, peer to peer to get it used. They have had before our organization and it includes often educated people. If you do spinal cord injury, what has happened to them?

00:25:18:11 – 00:25:41:23
Faustina Urassa
How they can move on after spinal cord injury? But it involved the community because if the community don’t have information about spinal cord injury in Africa, people will end up way to witchcraft. And a lot of them, they will die because once you find his damage, there will be no stop and we are in your body. But you cannot move.

00:25:42:01 – 00:26:08:21
Faustina Urassa
But you cannot steal your blood, but you can not feeling empowered. If people don’t have information about what has happened, they will end up dying with some complicated complication which can which are preventable, like a you die urinary tract infection in a pressure process. And again, when we are talking about urinary tract infection, remember we have malaria in Tanzania.

00:26:08:21 – 00:26:32:01
Faustina Urassa
UTI I sounds a malaria. Some are the same. Yeah, because once you have UTI you can have nauseous fever, your fever, tired, tired and the other pains the same apply to you because once your spine is damaged you can have a feeling. Yes, you have feeling pain.

00:26:32:18 – 00:26:34:20
Philippa White
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

00:26:35:15 – 00:27:03:01
Faustina Urassa
Even if your urine is bad, you cannot. Yes. So we are teaching them. This is we ask like in Swahili where you look like a camel fire. You would drink a lot of water, you know, empty your bladder frequently, use the up to a proper assistant to empty your blood to the size of a pocket, to urinate to equipment to like in inhaling catheter and stuff like that.

00:27:03:09 – 00:27:40:23
Faustina Urassa
Yes. Again, we did this the technique like a timing. It, the pressure, the losing where you are in which you have lost it for too long. You can damage you are sick because you cannot feed when sleeping in the night to try to time again to change the position to avoid pressure. So but again this is the issue of right issues is better very important because once you have a person with disability, the community think that to a lesser you must be you don’t have the same right to let others so empower them by building fast they are self esteem.

00:27:41:08 – 00:27:49:19
Faustina Urassa
Once person can manage bladder and bowel then can he self esteem can be raised.

00:27:50:04 – 00:28:00:10
Philippa White
How many people are currently involved with Sunken Belly and is there a story of someone who discovered sunken belly and has almost transformed as a result?

00:28:00:19 – 00:28:21:20
Faustina Urassa
In 2018, that’s when we officially had an office and that’s when once you organize, you have office, you have people volunteering or staff that can be easy to keep that kind of information. So from 2018 to today, we have 500 people with a wow. Yes.

00:28:22:04 – 00:28:26:07
Philippa White
That’s a lot. Gosh. Are you based in Kilimanjaro?

00:28:27:00 – 00:28:35:00
Faustina Urassa
Yes, Kilimanjaro. And some of them are from Africa as well because of 80, 80 global technology better. Wow.

00:28:35:00 – 00:28:35:20
Philippa White
Congratulations.

00:28:35:20 – 00:28:55:17
Faustina Urassa
Yes, we have very positive case studies of the things that we have identified that don’t know where to go. They don’t know what to do, but one thing, we have visited them last year, we identified a man who had been double for 17 years.

00:28:55:17 – 00:28:56:15
Philippa White
Oh, my God.

00:28:56:19 – 00:29:03:22
Faustina Urassa
He didn’t know where to go to talk. What did you do? And the reason why he was inside, he had no wheelchair.

00:29:04:08 – 00:29:06:00
Philippa White
Oh, God. So he couldn’t get around.

00:29:06:00 – 00:29:29:05
Faustina Urassa
He’s tangled with her mother because he had a brain when he’s puttering away. Once they. But by that time he was a young boy when he did develop a disability. So what his mother is doing is to lock him inside. Went to Newcastle, a member come back, open the door wash little tiny baby had a thing like that.

00:29:29:22 – 00:30:03:00
Faustina Urassa
So we had this session on the radio read, write, raising awareness about disability issue and spinal cord injury in general. And he had so far barely representative a talking and he took the number and he met immediately after decision. He called. He’s living very, very far from where we are. But we went there and when we meet, have we know a teammate half of the time he cried and he saved and he was ask, ask me, what do you want from my baby?

00:30:03:05 – 00:30:35:10
Faustina Urassa
And he saved my brother’s existence. What do I want from the is a wheelchair? And he said if you look outside, you can see tree, tree, maize and other other things for day for this maize to grow. They need sap, they need water. But for 17, he is having to get outside of this door and to sit outside in the field beside Philippot people cried.

00:30:35:20 – 00:30:36:24
Philippa White
Yeah, of course they did.

00:30:37:08 – 00:30:55:08
Faustina Urassa
So he said. We are not asking for anything but for winter. So they take a get out and see sit and that they saw and we thank God we have managed to deliver wealth just to these family. Yeah. So then we start to transform the whole family and the community around us.

00:30:55:24 – 00:30:57:02
Philippa White
Yeah. Yes.

00:30:57:14 – 00:31:06:04
Faustina Urassa
So you can see now she can go out, she can go to the neighbor’s, she can go and be watched. So football that’s yeah. Something like that.

00:31:06:14 – 00:31:28:11
Philippa White
That’s a beautiful story. So we have a project written up for Ty and I just wonder if you can tell our listeners just about what you hope Ty can help you with moving forward. So, son bellies, he’s been going since 2018. You, you’re looking for help from professionals, obviously a group of professionals that will come together to help you with something.

00:31:28:11 – 00:31:32:03
Philippa White
Can you bring to life what you are hoping we.

00:31:32:03 – 00:31:53:18
Faustina Urassa
Can help you with? As I mentioned, spinal cord injury is not well known in Tanzania, aid to Africa, to health. So we are struggling to tell people, what do we mean exactly when we’re talking about spinal cord injury? It is a hard mission. We are doing a lot of awareness in the community about spinal cord injury and this is called inclement weather.

00:31:53:18 – 00:32:20:08
Faustina Urassa
A lot of people are falling from trees because of the nature of our work. We are Hamas, an animal keeping animal kebabs. So a lot of them from from trees. I believe through this platform, there is a lot of a professional people who can help us to develop quality material we can use when we are raising awareness about the spinal cord injury.

00:32:20:08 – 00:32:25:19
Philippa White
What keeps you up at night worrying and what gives you hope?

00:32:25:19 – 00:32:59:01
Faustina Urassa
What keeps me up at night is thinking about every day I get we get people to disability requests about some equipment. They are asking for the support team they are expecting from someone baby Eddie how we can support them to achieve the goal and live normal lives. That is what gives me up at night. Yeah. And this is because we go to the hospital.

00:32:59:01 – 00:33:24:15
Faustina Urassa
Yes, we talk to them because we don’t have enough a previous time to talk about some issues and they will come back asking you for how they do that, how that is what give me my bucket. Thinking about if we have a private school or a center where we can teach them, transfer. The other things I have mentioned before, they have been discharged.

00:33:24:15 – 00:33:29:01
Faustina Urassa
That could be that is when can tell them go into live normal lives.

00:33:30:01 – 00:33:31:00
Philippa White
What gives you hope?

00:33:31:05 – 00:33:50:14
Faustina Urassa
What gives me hope is to see some of the people have the training. They have to go back to work. They have children. They help going back to school. Some of the women or girls be alive as well. They have their own children. Well, like last year, one of our members was married. A girl.

00:33:51:01 – 00:33:52:12
Philippa White
Oh, wow, great.

00:33:52:12 – 00:34:11:12
Faustina Urassa
But the other. The other three, he has Torbay three as continuous. The men, three men have got married. This is what gives me hope to see them. They are people who are living normal lives and they are teaching us now.

00:34:11:22 – 00:34:15:05
Philippa White
Yes. Oh yeah. Who inspires you.

00:34:15:13 – 00:34:46:23
Faustina Urassa
While my daughter is the one we spies. Nicola. Oh, thinking about, I was involved in a car accident. Thinking about being a single mother, thinking about she’s in university now, is saying, oh, well, good for her. Well, yeah, it kind of my myself raising a woman and a part of me I just makes me directly stressed.

00:34:46:23 – 00:35:11:22
Philippa White
I feel special. Yeah, I feel exceptional. Yeah, you should. You should. Because you defy. You defied all the odds. Now you’re creating a situation where it’s a lot easier for me. Mean it’s never going to be easy, but it’s easier for people because you’ve created this beautiful community, the education, the understanding, the support. But you didn’t have any of that.

00:35:12:00 – 00:35:32:20
Philippa White
You overcame so much. I’m sure if I ask the same question to your your daughter, she would say, you. I don’t know. I’m sure she would. Yes. Oh, well, first, you are an inspiration. You’re an absolute inspiration. Is there anything that you’d like to tell our listeners that I haven’t asked you?

00:35:32:22 – 00:36:07:06
Faustina Urassa
Well, I want to tell it. You are I want to say that this project is a brochure is very important for people with disability in Africa, in Tanzania, if all that are a part of people who are going through are people with spinal cord injury in Tanzania, the one always says, but what do we believe is sympathetic? We believe that we are properly to where care plus proper peer education that is good life after spinal cord injury.

00:36:07:11 – 00:36:32:08
Faustina Urassa
And this is why we are looking for the way we can have a good awareness, raising the awareness in the community for people with a disability, which is spinal cord injury. And that is why we are tackling them from the hospital to the community so that they can achieve their goal and if they can care with their dreams and they let the world know that in this window.

00:36:32:08 – 00:36:39:21
Faustina Urassa
Chair we have the big, big dream that we can achieve with ourselves. We thank your support.

00:36:40:02 – 00:36:59:05
Philippa White
Absolutely. That is such a great way to leave this. And you know, as I mentioned, we’re really looking forward to finding a way to work with you to help raise awareness of, gosh, the so many different things that we could raise awareness of with your important work. So we’re hoping 2023 will be able to work together and thank.

00:36:59:05 – 00:37:00:12
Faustina Urassa
You so much, Philippa.

00:37:00:12 – 00:37:01:07
Philippa White
Yeah, I can.

00:37:01:16 – 00:37:04:00
Faustina Urassa
See this project is kicking.

00:37:04:00 – 00:37:15:11
Philippa White
Coming together. Yeah, me too. Well, listen, thank you for all that you do. Thank you for being such a light and such a force. And I look forward to continuing the conversations.

00:37:15:21 – 00:37:19:15
Faustina Urassa
Thank you so much, Philippa. Thanks a lot for your time.

00:37:20:02 – 00:37:30:05
Philippa White
Thank you. And enjoy the rest of your Valentine’s Day. Happy Valentine’s Day. Goodbye.

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