In memory and honour of Sister Chantal

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In memory and honour of Sister Chantal

The Women for Africa Foundation expresses its deep sorrow at the death of Sister Chantal Pascaline Mutwamene in Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Monrovia due to Ebola. She was a great friend of the foundation and its Stop Fistula project, which we are carrying out in the hospital.

The entire Women for Africa team, starting with their president, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, would like to convey their condolences to her family and friends, as well as to the order of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception to which Chantal belonged. She had been working for years in Saint Joseph’s Hospital, which is run by the Order of St. John of God, along with Father Miguel Pajares, who had been repatriated a few days before, and the hospital's director, Patrick Nshamdze, who passed away a few days ago due to the same disease.

Chantal did not have Spanish nationality and this prevented her from being repatriated. While she could, she took care of her colleagues with her characteristic dedication and generosity as always.

Carmen Casáus, the coordinator of Stop Fistula in Monrovia, and the project’s head doctor, Javier Salmeán, pay tribute to Chantal in the words we have posted below. It is a tribute which the Women for Africa Foundation backs entirely.

 

THE HOSPITAL’S SHINING LIGHT

We met Sister Chantal during the first exploratory trip we made to Monrovia to launch the Stop Fistula Project for the Women for Africa Foundation at Saint Joseph’s Catholic Hospital (SJCH) in 2012. Her intimacy and her open candid smile made Chantal our point of reference in the hospital from day one.

When we started preparing the project, the road ahead was not easy. Sister Chantal was an exceptional guide in a country we did not know well and in which it was essential to implement changes to improve the lives of women. Her experience, courage and awareness were always ready in the face of the difficulties of everyday life and especially in surgical missions, where we met several doctors from different specialisations to perform surgery on women with fistula. Whenever any complications arose, Sister Chantal always appeared with a big, generous smile offering possible solutions.

English is the official language in Liberia, but the women with fistula and pregnant young ladies that we treat come from the poorest population, so they communicate in different traditional languages. Chantal also played a key role there. In scheduling and drawing up clinical records, which are essential for successful treatment, she was always helping the medical team while at the women’s side.

Chantal was ultimately the hospital’s shining light, a professional who, in a world where men are hostile to women, was able to shine with her good deeds and encourage everyone with her infectious laughter.

Our life is but a small breath, and in another breath we cease to be. That which we take with us or leave behind is related to our commitment in the life it has been our fate to live. Sister Chantal made her way with great generosity and she leaves us her enormous humanity as her legacy.

Her last weeks were spent fighting in Saint Joseph’s Hospital, confident in a false negative test result for Ebola, giving care as a nurse to all those who were sick, including Brother Patrick, now deceased, Brother Miguel and others. Chantal never discriminated by gender, race or nationality. Her solidarity knew no bounds. She did not distinguish the labels placed that turned against her; she stood by the sick.

While we were still celebrating the return of Father Miguel and Sister Juliana, Sister Chantal passed away in Monrovia.

MAY SHE REST IN PEACE.

                                                                                                Carmen Casáus

                                                                                                Javier Salmeán

 

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