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The moth is brought to you by Progressive, one of the country's leading providers of auto insurance, with Progressive's name, your price tool, you say what kind of coverage you're looking for and how much you want to pay, and progressive will help you find options that fit within your budget. Use the name your price tool and start an online quote today at progressive dotcom pricing coverage match limited by state law. And keep listening at the end of the show today for a special bonus story made possible by Progressive.


Hey, family, save the date for the Moth Mainstage on Saturday, February 27, at 7:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. Join us and host Jonathan Ames for an evening of stories as five storytellers take the virtual stage and share a true personal tale from their life. Stories of glory and defeat, taunting fate, laughing in the face of danger and the moments that forever changed the course. Buy tickets now at the Mofongo Virtual Mainstage.


Welcome to The Moth Radio Hour from PUREX, I'm Sarah Austin.


Janez this hour includes six stories told by women around the world, some from our Open Mike story slams and some from our community program, where we craft stories with people who might not think they have stories to tell.


So get ready because we're going from a trailer park in Phenix to Pittsburgh, Melbourne and Seattle, then to the high mountains of Nepal and finally an apartment building in Manhattan.


We met our first storyteller. We'll call her Katie Smith in a math community workshop that explored family homelessness. She had enough material right from the start to write a book. Katie told the story at Seattle's Fremont Abbey, which was actually also a temporary shelter in the 1990s. Here's Katie live at The Moth at a night we called home lost and Found. Picture it, it's November of 1977, and my family and I are pulling in to Phenix, Arizona in the late 1950s, maybe early 1960s, four door Ford Fairlane, Dark Brown, we live in it.


We've lived out here on the road for three and a half years.


Sometimes it's a car, sometimes it's a van. Sometimes it's a yellow school bus.


But we've lived here for three and a half years and I'm sitting in the back seat and I'm cross-legged because there's so much junk that you can't put your feet on the floor. There's so much trash in our car. And we're pulling into Phenix, Arizona, now. My mother's in the passenger seat. My older sister, Abbi's right next to me. She's 11 and I'm nine. And my mother's boyfriend is in the driver's seat. His name is Lucky and he sure as hell isn't.


And we're pulling in to Phenix, Arizona. And my sister and I were really excited. And I'll tell you why, because we're going to get a house. We're going to get a trailer. We might even get to go to school this winter, which is pretty awesome for us.


Now, I imagine in a city, there's houses and neighborhoods. And I don't know what you think of when you think of a trailer park. There's old people and there's, you know, the little gravel yards.


Well, that's not where we're at. See, every city in America has one of our trailer parks and it's over here and it's where the monsters live and it's where the whores and the drug dealers and the people who are afraid of ionis. It's where the old people who can't afford a house live, there are Bambis and fifth wheelers and campers that are actually up on sticks, and that's where people live. But me and Manabe, we're really excited, you know why?


Because we get indoor plumbing, you have no idea out here for three and a half years as a mason jar or a bucket.


You know, we're lucky in the winter we got a house and we get a trailer.


It has shag carpet. It's nineteen seventy seven. And this one's old for 1977 and it's got the wood paneled walls and the shag carpet. But we've got a room, we've got a room with a door and it doesn't close altogether.


But that's OK with us because we've got a room, we've got a bunk bed and I'm on the bottom and you know, Abbe's up there on the top and every trailer park like where we live.


There's a 7-Eleven down on the corner or a Circle K or something like that, there's always a Quickie Mart and me and my sister and we go down and we scavenge because that's what we like to do, be surprised. Things people throw away, people throw away treasures, people throw away food.


Now, us, we got ourselves a Barbie dream house. Let me tell you what. It's pink. It's covered in magic marker. Some pretty not so pretty drawings, but we took our own magic markers and we turn them into flowers and there's one of those elevators that goes up and down and we took and it's broken.


So we took a shoelace and we made it. So it goes up and down and we got ourselves a little room and I got myself a bag of Barbie parts I've been carrying around for three years. Pieces have been grown. We put them all together. We play it to have a good time. And this is where we are. Now it's Christmas and we're sitting in our little trailer, we're at around dinner table. Now, me and Abby, we've got to support ourselves in our scavenge, you know, when, in fact, Christmas trees, you got to picture it as white plastic.


It's pretty scary. We got ourselves some Christmas decorations and we got ourselves some lights, but we were too afraid to plug them in because we figured if somebody plugged them in, they're probably going to burn down our house.


OK, so we've got ourselves and we're here in this little dining room and, you know, the trees in the corner got some bad decorations on, but we're pretty pleased with ourselves now. Got five whole dollars to go buy Christmas presents with. Didn't really spend it on presents, probably spent on food or candy or something.


But I made Christmas presents with a little bit of yarn and I'm not very good with their crocheting, so I just use my fingers. And I made a toothbrush holder that you can hang from the rearview mirror. I made a little, you know, like a little scarf. It's kind of sad looking and I made it potholder.


You can weave it with your fingers. All little girls do it.


And I'm sitting there at the table and Mom's got a contaminated box of stovetop stuffing and some instant mashed potatoes.


And we're having dinner and then it starts.


He's mad because I gave him bad presents and it's my fault. And he starts yelling, mom starts yelling back and he starts hitting mom and Mom hits him back. This happens every day. They're either hitting each other or they're hitting us because that's the way it is in our world every day and all the houses next to us and all the houses we come from. I think it's my fault. So here we are. Me and Abby, we've gone to bed.


I got pajamas, which is pretty exciting on the road. I sleep in my clothes because you kind of have to. But I got pajamas and I'm on the bottom bunk and they're screaming and yelling and we're awake because while on the road, we get downers to go to sleep and others to work.


And here we don't have any. So we're wide awake and.


And he's dragging mom down the hall by her hair, we can see a little hole in our door. He's got momma by her hair and she is thrashing back and forth, trying to get out of his grasp and her hands up like this.


She's flopping back and forth like a fish, and here's where it's different.


My older sister, Abby, she takes herself from the top bunk and she launches herself through the door on top of him. And it's different because he drops mama and he takes my sister and he rips her off and he chucks her into the wall, maybe five, six feet.


These are those wood paneled walls, there's a hole where her head hit, she's kind of disoriented, but she's able to stand up and Mama yells Ron Nimal does not yell Ron very often. This happens all the time. But when it happens, we do. So we head out the door. You got to imagine picture. It's a long stretch way down to the 7-Eleven. There's broken asphalt, broken glass. And I'm running barefoot and we're running and mom's screaming now.


I don't scream anymore. I don't scream or anyone. I don't cry. I just run. Because I know that's how I live. And so we're running we're running down towards the 7-Eleven, it's like a fucking God, we're getting to the 7-Eleven, there's Santa Claus, it's bright fucking red.


It's Rudolph's red nose.


And here we are. We are running. And you got to imagine it. The lights around us are turning off.


All of the neighbor's lights are going off as we pass them because nobody will call because they don't want the cops there anymore than we did.


But we are running and I am not screaming.


And here we are. We're at the 7-Eleven and the lights come and it's flashing lights. It's finally Christmas lights and it's the police. And they take us to one of those shelters, you know, those battered women's shelters. The walls are all neutral colors and the mattresses are all rubber.


And they got giant jars of peanut butter on the bottom shelves or spoons for all us poor kids.


But, you know, we're not safe yet. I mean, I think we know that. And it's because we are still here with her. She is as quick with the back of her hand as he is sometimes faster and she turns more quickly. We are not safe because we are with her because she will go back. And we know that. It's not very long, of course, she calls on a pay phone, we meet him in a parking lot there we are piling into this time.


It's a Lincoln Continental rust colored TUD Skylab space, and it doesn't have very much trash in it yet. And we're piling in and we're moving on. Same thing we're headed on, at least, I think Oklahoma, a bunch of Bible thumpers and whatever, who knows? We've been there before. Only it isn't because not very far down the road, we pull into a Greyhound bus station, mom buys two bus tickets. She puts us on this bus.


She says you're going to go visit Sydnor for two weeks, I'll come get you. She turns around, she's walking off the bus, and I got a window seat pretty that I called Shucker. I like the window seat keeps getting carsick. I'm sitting there in the window and Mom's walking away, she says, I love you, be good.


I don't want people thinking you're trash. And she's out there in the car, our bus is pulling away and as clear as a bell, I'm looking out the window at mom in the car and a handful of Christmas presents on the back dash, which would have been where I was sleeping. And I think I am nine years old. Only nine. And I will live to see 10. That was Katie Smith, and we're not using her real name.


She's a self-described absinthe, which, if you don't know, is a person who begins to study or learn only late in life.


Katie didn't see her mother again until she was 16. She's a writer. And she said taking part in this mock community workshop made her writing more brave.


We'll have another story from this collaboration with the Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness later in this hour. Next, Katherine Palmer at an open mic night in Pittsburgh where we partner with public radio station WEAA, the scene was last minute. Here's Katherine live at the moment. I'm a college professor, and if you are or were one of those students who do things assignments at the last minute, I'm your worst nightmare. I have no sympathy for the student who gets in trouble doing an assignment.


The last last minute printers break, networks go down. But if you're doing things in a timely manner, this doesn't matter because you have time to fix that. But if you're doing it at the last minute, you're completely derailed. So if I didn't care when things were due, I wouldn't give them a due date. No need to tell me your computer crashed. I know computers crash honestly and all of my schooling. I only ever pushed one assignment to the last minute.


And unfortunately, it was this critical assignment in my Ph.D. program where I really needed to complete a research paper, impress a professor so he'd invite me to do research in his lab. So I sat down on the weekend to look at what I needed to do was do on Monday, and I realized I had a week worth of work and had in front of me and I didn't have a week.


But I figured if I ignored personal hygiene and eating, I might just pull this off. So I started to work like a woman possessed. It's kind of exciting to have that kind of deadline. And I really think to this day I did some of my best writing in those hours, but we'll never know because 13 hours into this, my computer crashed.


So it's the midnight 1980s. I had one of the new Macintosh computers. And when something goes wrong with those computers, you actually get a picture of a bomb right in the middle of the screen.


And I remember staring at the bomb thinking I would be in better shape if an actual bomb went off in my apartment. A professor would have to accept that as an excuse, but that was not the case.


So the problem here was I had been working like such a lunatic that I hadn't printed anything. I hadn't backed anything up. I had nothing. So I had this disk with all the information that couldn't be read by this computer. But I had bought the computer locally and I thought, I'm going to go down to the store. There were a lot of computer whiz kids at the store. Maybe they can retrieve this.


So I got down there and I arrived to Unbathed, on the verge of tears and wearing clothes that were also unbathed. And I told my very sad story to the guy at the desk and he said, well, we have this new intern named Mark. He's right around the corner. Go tell him he might be able to help you. So I went over and I repeated my sad story and Mark said he took my phone number and he said, when the store closes, I'll have some time.


I'll try to save this. But if I can't, I'll maybe be able to print it for you and you can use that. I thanked him profusely from a little bit of a distance.


I had realized how disgusting I was and I headed home. A few hours later, the phone rings and I braced myself. It was Mark and he said, I have good news and I have bad news. And I thought, well, they probably couldn't retrieve anything, but maybe they could print it. I said, well, what's the bad news? And he said, we can't retrieve anything. We can't print anything. It's gone. And I remember hearing myself say, what the hell is the good news?


To which he replied, I'd love to take you to dinner and. Honestly, that wasn't good news. So now any young woman who has a mother or other young girlfriends knows that you don't ever accept a last minute invitation on a Saturday night because you look pathetic and as if you had no plans. But actually, I was pathetic and I had a feeling I would never, ever have any plans because I had destroyed my life not getting this assignment done.


The other thing young women know is if you're going to go out with a stranger, you meet them at a neutral place and you call at least one friend and say who you're going out with and where you're going. So I proceeded to call No one and give Mark my address.


I had a whole new plan. I thought, if this guy's a murderer, this could solve all my problems. So I was thinking, if you're murdered, no one's going to pay attention that you didn't turn in your homework, they're going to be really upset. And I, I dream in very vivid color and I could always see my parents getting all this sympathy. But then I saw the news kind of transitioning to what poor decisions I had made.


But I really thought my parents would consider this a call to action, start a foundation and educate other young women so this wouldn't happen to them.


So I had this all reconciled. I actually showered and put on new clothes and Mark arrived. Now, you've already figured out he didn't murder me. But for all you young women in the audience, the fact that I'm still alive does not make any of these decisions less stupid. So he didn't murder me. And actually, a few months later, I married him.


So the professor that I was trying to impress, oddly enough, was more impressed that my computer crashed and I fell in love. So although if you are one of my students in a class and you are doing something the last minute in your computer crashes, you will most likely get an F. But you just might find the love of your life.


That was Katherine Palmer at one of our stories slam competitions in Pittsburgh. She says she's still type A and probably getting worse with age to see a wedding photo of Katherine and her Forever it guy. Go to our website.


Thermography after our break, a 43 year old woman learns to swim and a teenage girl grieves after an accidental fire.


The Moth Radio Hour is produced by Atlantic Public Media in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and presented by PUREX.


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This is the Moth Radio Hour from Prick's, I'm Sarah Austin Janez. Carl Wilson is a comedian in Australia. She came to our very first moth slam in Melbourne where we partner with the Australian Broadcasting Company, ABC, our friend, and she threw her name in the hat for a chance to tell a story. Here's Carl Wilson live at the Moth Story Slam in Australia. By the time I had my first swimming lesson at the age of five, I was already terrified of the water.


I don't really remember how it started. I think I was held underwater by an older kid. All I remember is, was feeling the panic and the terror and water being forced at my nose. And I just hated the water. But I eventually learned to swim at the age of 43.


So 38 years in between.


It makes me sound like a slow learner. But I spent those years just avoiding the water because I just hated it. I would make up any excuse. I didn't like the beach because the sand would get on my boat. But really I was just scared of the water. And, you know, we had school sports at high school and everyone had to go in the swimming and everyone else swam at length. But they made me and three other losers, swimmer width.


And I got two strokes in and I stopped and I ran the rest of the way and I still got lost. So.


So I've always been scared of the water. And then when my son was born six years ago, the thing by the time he was born, I was used to it being a part of my identity as an adult who can't swim. And it became like a mildly interesting fact to start a conversation with a parties like as an adult, if you go, I can't swim everyone somebody like really how come we're not and they start interrogating you as if you've made it up.


But the thing is, if I was going to invent something about myself, I would make it more interesting than not being able to swim.


I would have said something like, I'm really good at archery. I'm I'm a I'm a magnificent archer. Or I would have said all my father was partially eaten by a bear.


I would have said something better than I just can't swim. And so when my son was born, I didn't want him to have the same fate as me. And so I made sure that we started swimming lessons with him when he was tiny. He was seven months old and we knew that age. You have to go in the water with them. But it was OK because it was only waist deep. I didn't have to pump vison. And at this stage, when you when you were swimming with a baby, all you're basically doing is you just swishing them around.


It's like you're washing a the nothing very much happens in the swimming lesson and then they get a bit older and they start to do more stuff like crawl off a mat into the water and you catch them. And I dropped mine.


I caught them again. I got them out of the water. I was panicking and I kind of fished him out of the water and came up with a smile on his face like it was Esther Williams at a water ballet. Like he just I was like, we are not the same person. And he loved swimming ever since. And last year when he turned five, I had this revelation that he loves swimming so much. He loves the water so much that I am going to be spending a lot of my time with him in the water.


And I was like as his parent, I should be able to enjoy that and I should also be able to rescue him if something goes wrong and I should be able to swim. Also, the secondary reason was I can't let my five year old beat me.


So I started having swimming lessons last year at the same swimming school as my son, which was a very leveling experience. We weren't in the same class, obviously, because that would be weird. But we were in this we were in the next line to each other. And it's so it's a weird thing. It is a weird thing to look around a pole that is full of swimming lessons and realize that there are 50 people in that pole and you are the only person who is older than five.


And you also think don't think about what's gone in the water.


So the first swimming lesson I had, I was terrified and it sounds so stupid, but I was terrified. And the teacher, I mean, it's okay. All I want you to do is put your face in the water and breathe out. And I was like, that is the worst thing you could ask me to do. And so I put my face in the water and I freaked out and I stood up again. And you know what your problem is?


You've got to breathe air at your nose.


And I mean, what are you talking about? It was a revelation to me.


I had no idea. I had no idea you were supposed to blow your nose when you swam. Oh, I just thought you guys were better at dealing with the horrible torment of having water forced up.


You know, I thought everyone just dealt with it was like, oh, it feels like. But I'm fine. I'm fine.


And so she could make she cured my breathing. It was amazing. The first swimming lesson I did like five meters with the kickboard breathing. And I felt like Ian Thorpe. I was like, obviously, and Ian Thorpe with lowered expectations. But I'm Ian Thorpe. Right. And I was like, that's it. I'm cured. I can swim. I can totally do it. And I went back to the next lesson thinking that I was not afraid of water anymore.


But this thing happens when you've been afraid of something for so long, even though intellectually, you know you don't have to be frightened of it anymore. You're Hindbrain doesn't believe you. And so I went back to the second lesson. I put my face in the water going, it's OK. I breathe that air criminology's, it's OK. But my hindbrain was going, No, the witness kills us, Gameover.


And it took me weeks to get over the fear of putting my face in the water, but gradually I got better and better. I learned how to swim and I and I stopped using a kickboard. And then finally, finally, at the end of the term, six months after I started, because I didn't want to rush it because it had been 38 years.


I don't pick it up quickly. At the end of six months, I swam my first 25 meter length and I got to the end of the pool and I was so euphoric and my little boy was at the end of the pool, I mean.


And my son. Good job, let me go and do another one, and I had this revelation, like I have done a whole lot of things for the first time. I swam my first lake. I've gone to a pool on purpose for pleasure with my husband. And I've swum so much. I got sick from the lactic acid and I was sick in the car. And it was amazing. And the only side effect is that now that I can swim, I've got to tell everyone about it really quickly, because at the moment I'm still a 44 year old woman who's just learned to swim.


But in six months time, I will just be a 44 year old woman who can swim and there's every 44 year old woman.


And so I'm going to have to come up with a new story at parties that makes me mildly interesting. So I'm going to go with being a magnificent archer.


Thank you. That was Carl Wilson at our first moth story slam in Melbourne, Australia, where the theme was, you guessed it, firsts. She's regularly on Australian TV and tours with her one woman stand up shows. Next, Liz Allen, who is part of our mothe community workshop that explored the issue of family homelessness with this story of losing her family's house in a fire. Here's Liz live at the mosque in Seattle, Washington.


It was a quarter to midnight New Year's Eve, 1997. We got a call that our house burned down. I was 13 at the time.


My sister was 15 and we were on a family ski trip.


So when we came back to the house, we had just our ski clothes and we came back to like an empty carcass.


I remember my dad turning around and being like, I guess we should go to a hotel and my mom being like, there'll be an indoor pool.


It's a good thing we packed our suits.


And so when we checked into this hotel and kind of started an adventure for me, we sometimes got to eat, you know, a room service or go to the continental breakfast.


Before school, my mom had went back to the house and rescued a couple of bowls and she would put them out on the counter with some fruit and cereal for the morning.


And I would feel a little bit like home.


So my mom was kind of a ray of sunshine. I called her the month of May.


She was a secure attachment for me, really, as a kid.


My dad was drank quite a bit and he was fairly inconsistent, like emotionally also physical.


His physical presence was really inconsistent, but she kind of made the best of it was, you know, if he didn't show up for dinner, we would sink into spatulas around the kitchen. I remember her trying to teach me what Vaine meant. It was like a vocab word in sixth grade. She she put on Carly Simon, you're so vain. And we listen to it like 14 times.


And she really made the best of every situation.


And this is no exception. I remember sitting on my bed, my sister and I, at this point, the first time ever, we're sharing a room, you know, in the hotel kind of the kitchen was in between the kitchen and tiny living space.


My parents were on the other side. And so sitting on my bed doing trying to do my homework, and I realized I needed scissors.


But when your house burns down, you don't have things like scissors or markers. I mean, you really don't have anything.


And I remember being pretty, pretty frustrated.


My mom was like, well, we'll just go to Staples.


And I was like school supplies in the middle of the year. This is awesome. And we dragged my sister. We walked, like, out of the room and down the hallway, like down the elevator, across the lobby, across the parking lot. And we went to Staples and I got to get a whole bunch of stuff.


I got scissors, I got a ruler, I got some markers. My mom, you buy it. It's kind of ridiculous. I'm I'll let me buy a 24 dollar stapler. It was like two pounds is like for a desk for adults. We had no desk. I was not an adult, but I was. But it was it was awesome. It felt really special. And of course, there's no place to put that stuff in a hotel room.


So it just like sat in the Staples bag on the floor.


And, you know, that's kind of what my life was like at that point. I was a little bit like famous in school. I got to get out of gym class.


And, you know, things seem to be moving along because I was a little bit surprising.


I woke up a couple of weeks later in the middle of the night, like one thirty in the morning and crying.


Now, there's a lot of hotel noises. There's like, you know, weddings go on and my grandparents visit grandkids, etc. But this is a different like a different sort of noise.


And it felt really close.


And I remember like pulling back the covers to my bed and, you know, kind of creeping out towards the door to the kitchen. There was a light coming out through the bottom and I could hear crying coming from the kitchen.


And I just remember being a little a little nervous, not sure what to do.


So I cracked the door just a peek so I could kind of peer in.


And there's like the fluorescent light of the hotel room and the kind of like drab, you know, kitchen cabinets on the counter was just like individual yogurts, tiny bags of carrots.


When you have a hotel for greater for a family of four, you can't buy, like, you know, the big yogurts. You have to buy individual stuff. So it fits.


And in the middle of the kitchen was my mother on her knees crying.


She had on this like a pink rubber gloves sponge and some soft scrub. I don't know where those items came from and she was cleaning her refrigerator, confusing to me as a kid.


Right? I lived in a hotel. People came and made our beds and cleaned our stuff for us. I didn't know what she was doing, why she was crying. It was like 130 in the morning and why she was cleaning. And so I just watched her. And I really felt her loss, you know, is the first time it dawned on me that this was like a real loss, like we had lost our photo albums and she lost her wedding dress.


I lost my bike and my stuffed animals.


My favorite pillow. I'm. And we had lost other things, too, like there's intangibles like the drive where we learn to ride our bikes and the Bannisters, we pretended to be horses that were pretended to be horses.


The garden she and I kept in the back, you know, like was the first and realized we weren't going home or we were not ever going to go home.


You know, and I started to fill in, I closed the door, arrested my face against the door frame, and I cried together, we grieved. That is Liz Allen telling her story at a moth showcase called Home Lost and Found. Liz loves to climb up rocks, bike down hills and buy plane tickets. She's now a human rights lawyer in Seattle, Washington. After our break, a doctor's life is threatened by armed militia and an 80 year old is shocked in a good way when she returns to her apartment after having a stroke in the moth Radio Hour continues.


The Moth Radio Hour is produced by Atlantic Public Media. Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and presented by the Public Radio Exchange.


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Welcome back to the Moth Radio Hour from PUREX. I'm Sarah Austin Janez. This is a women in the world. Our and our last two stories were unearthed thanks to our community program, which began in 1999, where we offer storytelling workshops and performance opportunities to people who feel under heard. You're about to hear Dr. Kusum Thapa. She told the story at a moth night called Vital Signs, along with other global health experts from the Aspen New Voices Fellowship.


She speaks deliberately as English is her second language, and she said she was trying not to cry. She had never told the story in public before this night.


Here's Kusum Thapa live among. I'm in the high mountains of Nepal. In an assignment with the government. As an obstetrician, I've been helping out in a health camp there. This is almost eight hours drive from the hospital where I have been working. I'm missing my colleagues there and thinking about my family because I've left them now for quite some time. And I saw I get a phone call, I quickly grabbed the phone. I think it's from whom?


When suddenly I hear a strange man's voice. I want you to change the report of a young girl who's 13 years, whom you examined two months back and gave the verdict. Before I could even think about what he was talking, he went on to say, I belong to the armed rebel and you know what the consequences would be if you don't.


I was very frightened, disturbed these people had a reputation of killing, extortion, kidnaping, I just did not know what this meant for me. Flashes of this young girl came to my mind.


She had been brought into my office with her mother and the police, accompanied by the police. She looked frightened, barely able to speak. She was just 13 years. And she had bruises all over her body with clear evidence of sexual assault. I had given the verdict of sexual assault.


As I thought about it, I was really worried my motherly feelings really got ignited, I thought, for this young girl.


And I quickly then rang up home and told my son to stay indoors and be safe. The next day. The military escort took me back to the hospital. Apparently, the rebels had demanded that the medical superintendent called me back. As I traveled down the eight hours journey, it almost seemed like eight days. Flashes of these this young girl kept coming to my mind. She had gathered up so much courage to report this case in a time when so many more like her were suffering in silence.


As I entered the medical superintendent's room, it was really hot and small. I looked there, I saw these six men seated comfortably in the couch. They look like normal people, like any of us, but I knew at once that these were the rebels, the medical superintendent asked me to sit down. And as I sat down, he told me that these people wanted me to review the report. I knew what that meant because I had already received the phone call.


I asked the medical superintendent that I wanted to talk to him alone. With a lot of hesitation, the rebels left the room. I told the medical superintendent that I would not change the report, I was ready to face the consequences. I told him the consequences would be that they would kill me. I would rather die once, then die over and over again if I change the report, he looked at me. Is this your final decision? I said yes.


As I walked out of his room, I saw a few of my colleagues there and that comforted me because I knew that they would be in the committee to review the case and they would definitely stand by me. I had the military escort take me back home.


Where I met my son, hugged him and just cried, every knock at the door frightened us.


And we waited for yet another phone call. After about an hour, I got a phone call, it was from the medical superintendent's office. The person at the phone said the problem, the case has been solved. I was really excited. I said, wow, so the rebels have agreed to it. It was not in their nature to accept these things. The person said the verdict has been changed. They have given a verdict that the girl is not sexually assaulted.


I was stunned, I sat on the floor all numbed. I felt for this small girl her last. Effort to really get any justice was lost. I felt for myself also my credibility had been lost. I had a reputation and a good recognition in that area in a fraction of a second that had all gone. I thought of these colleagues of mine. I thought of them because they had themselves seen girls even younger than this one, and now they have turned their back to all of them.


They had done their back to me. I felt I could no longer now work with them. So the next day I gave notice.


I left this place which was home to me, and the work which I so much enjoyed, these were colleagues I would be really going out with having Saturday outings, having dinner.


I would really be supporting them. So much so that at one time I'd even asked my husband to donate blood for one of their clients and now they had all turned their back on me. I left home. And now I know and I did understand and I do understand what it is to leave home and to be displaced from home. I was stepping into the unknown. I was just thinking that. It was really disturbing for me to think about leaving home, leaving my practice.


Leaving my colleagues and treading into what really seemed an unknown place for me, but one thing was sure. What was sure was I would always speak out for these girls. These girls deserve justice. They deserve the right to live with dignity. I decided I would be their voice. Thank you.


That was Dr. Christian Fatha Kusum lives with her husband and her son in Kathmandu, but her home in this story has been deserted for over a decade. Consumes life is still dedicated to reducing preventable deaths of women, and she's working now to train frontline health workers to respond to gender based violence in Nepal. So we've come to our last storyteller in this hour, Beverly Engelmann, Bev was part of a workshop with Caring Across Generations, an organization dedicated to reframing conversations around old age.


Larry Rosen, one of our story directors, when every day for a week to Beverly's apartment to help her craft what you're about to hear. She was in her 80s when she told this story about the aftermath of a stroke. Here's Beverly live at The Moth in New York City. I've always thought of myself as a very independent person. Doing things for myself and by myself. My father used to tell me being independent is probably the most the best thing you can do for yourself.


Because when you rely on yourself, you will never be disappointed or let down when other people don't live up to the expectations you have of what they should be doing for you. And this is the way I chose to live my life. So it's not surprising that later on, when I had two hip replacements, in both instances, I took myself to the hospital. I never thought of doing it any other way. And then.


As I got older and arthritis became a very important part of my life and I found that I couldn't walk as well as I used to. I went from a cane to a walker. The walker had four wheels and handbrakes and a basket in which I could put things in a seat that I could sit on if I needed to. It became part of my life and a constant companion, and I felt it deserved some kind of recognition. So I decided to call it Alice Walker.


Now, aside from the obvious reason I chose that name, Alice Walker and Seelie, the main character from a color purple that very difficult lives. But they were survivors. And I felt I shared this with them over my 80 years. I've had some hard times, but I am a survivor. So Alice and I walked all over the Upper West Side together. There was no place I felt I could not go and nothing that I could not do with Alice by my side.


I wish I say in front of me.


And all of this came to a crashing halt on September 20th of 2014 when an MRI revealed that I had had a stroke and I wound up at New York Presbyterian Hospital stroke unit. It was there that I encountered two of the most devastating symbols of total dependance, the call button and the bedpan. The first time I rang the call button, it took so long for the nurse to respond, I was sure she was coming from a galaxy far, far away.


And if there's anything worse than waiting for a bedpan, it's waiting and waiting and waiting for someone to take it away. I realized how dependent I had become and the people around me, and it was a very frightening experience. And after five days, the doctor said, you're not ready to go home yet. You won't be able to take care of yourself. You have to go to rehab place. And the social worker gave me a choice of several places and I had heard about Amsterdam House and I had a pretty good reputation, so that was my choice.


It couldn't have been a better choice. I was there for three months, and every day I would get physical therapy and occupational therapy. And even on the weekends, I would get the same thing. And. Sorry. Okay, um. I got all the help I needed. But I was encouraged at every step of the way to do as much as I could for myself. And so I went from the wheelchair back to Alice, who had been waiting patiently for me in my room, and we were able to go to the bathroom by ourselves, and instead of having the food brought to my room, I was able to walk back and forth to the dining room three times a day, and I even was able to get outside for a short walk.


I was back to living the kind of life that I was used to. When I and January, it was determined that I was ready to go home. And while I was anxious to get back to my apartment, I was a little overwhelmed by the idea that I was going to be by myself, even though I knew I was going to get physical therapy and occupational therapy on an outpatient basis and even services from visiting nurse people. When I got home, the first thing I saw when I got off the elevator.


Was a bunch of balloons that had been attached to my front door welcoming me home. And I thought, wow, this was totally unexpected and that was just the beginning when I opened my front door. This old 40 year old carpeting had been removed, leaving a bare wooden floor and extraneous furniture that had collected over the past 40 years was gone. So it was easy for me to maneuver my walker around the apartment in the kitchen. My refrigerator had been cleaned out as restocked with a fresh assortment of food.


The my old mattress was gone, replaced by the one that I had ordered online and it was set up ready for me to use. And my Venetian blinds that were in bad shape as the carpeting had been removed and my apartment was filled with light. And I thought. Who is done with this woman, and I found out it was a team of people from my building, including the building staff, my neighbors and my friends, and I was totally overwhelmed because in all honesty and all the time I lived there, well, I was friendly and, you know, three people on the elevator and say, hi, how are you?


I never thought of asking them for anything and I never really got to know anyone that well. But I decided since they had done this for me, it was time for me to reach out to them. And so I put a note on my front door and it said, the front door is unlocked. Please come in for a visit when you have a chance. And over the past eight months, almost every day, someone has come in sometimes to ask me if I needed anything, but a lot of times just to come in and talk, we would share stories about our lives, about our families, friends, things we were interested in.


And I realized, you know what, I'm not alone, I'm part of a caring community of wonderful people and not just an anonymous tenant in a New York City apartment building. And I thought, you know, it's not such a terrible thing to get help when I need it, especially when someone says to me, how can I help you? This allows me to determine what it is that I need and want, and so now I choose to think of myself as an independent person with benefits.


That was Beverly Engelmann at a showcase of stories developed in mock workshops in underserved communities in Manhattan. Bev still lives in the same New York City apartment building, and Larry Rosen, who worked with Beverly, said, yes, she really does have a sign up that says door is open. Come on in. Beyond a place for telling stories, them off is a place where people practice the art of listening. So thanks for listening. Here with us today, we hope you'll join us next time.


Your host this hour with Sarah Austin Ginés, Sarah directed the stories in the show along with Larry Rosen, the rest of the most directorial staff includes Kathryn Burns, Sarah Habermann, Jennifer Hickson and make bolls production support from Muj.


Lady The Moth would like to thank the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for their support of the Moth Community Program, as well as Andrew Quinn and Rachel Stretcher from the Aspen Institute and Kathryn Hinrichsen from the Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness. More stories are true, is remembered and affirmed by the storytellers. Most moth events are recorded by our studios in New York City, supervised by Paul Russi. Our theme music is By the Drift. All of the music in this hour was from Stelle Waggons Symphony.


You can find links to all the music we use at our Web site. The Moth Radio Hour is produced by me, Jay Allison with Viki Merrick at Atlantic Public Media in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. This hour was produced with funds from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation committed to building a more just verdant and peaceful world. Moth Radio Hour is presented by Prick's.


For more about our podcast. Information on pitching your own story and everything else, go to our Web site, The Moth Dog.


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Join us for our weekly Open Mike story slam competition. February's theme is Love Hurts. Throw your name in the hat for a chance to tell your story or just come to listen to stories of a total eclipse of the heart kicked to the curb by the people or places or things you love or used to love. Visit them afterglow events to buy tickets. Now, that's the Moth Duga events.