In rural Ethiopia the staff of a health centre are fighting maternal mortality. They tirelessly appeal to women to give birth in the clinic. But reservations are strong, and so are the practical obstacles. How are heavily pregnant women supposed to arrive in time when the ambulance comes hours later or not at all? Against medical advice, Hulu Ager decides to give birth at home, assisted by a traditional midwife.
With palpable familiarity, the film crew captures moments of intimate communion between Hulu Ager, the midwives and other women. On the margins of the central conflict, the many challenges they face in a patriarchal society emerge. The debates are most lively under the hood dryer at the hairdresser’s: She doesn’t enjoy sex because of her circumcision, the medical professional Welela reports. “Sometimes you have to prepare yourself for sex,” another customer advises. Sometimes it helps to get drunk. But the perky hairdresser is sure: Bad sex is grounds for divorce. The women share their desires and woes with each other, experience solidarity and gather courage for small and great acts of departure and resistance. Men are relegated to the role of extras, if at all.