After nearly losing her leg in a “catastrophic” accident while at a research camp in a Congo rainforest, Ashley Judd is recovering at a hospital in South Africa.
Judd opened up about the accident and her work in the Democratic Republic of Congo during an Instagram Live with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. Walking with a “powerful stride” early in the morning before sunrise, Judd did not see a fallen tree and tripped, shattering her leg. She described the “incredibly harrowing” emotional and physical nature of her journey to the hospital, which included lying on the forest floor for five hours and holding the top part of her shattered tibia for six hours while riding a motorbike.
“The difference between a Congolese person and me is disaster insurance that allowed me 55 hours after my accident to get to an operating table in South Africa,” Judd said from her hospital bed. She also noted that 91% of existing health centers in the DRC do not offer emergency obstetric or any kind of newborn care.
The activist and actor regularly visits the DRC and explained in her own Instagram post that while she is accustomed to the area, “accidents do happen.” The conversation opened up the opportunity for her to discuss a more pressing matter and make a call for donations to the United Nations Population Fund.
“Bonobos exist only in the most remote parts of the Congo,” Judd wrote, regarding the ape species’ endangerment. “Bonobos matter. And so do the people in whose ancestral forest they range and the other 25,600,000 Congolese in need of humanitarian assistance.”
Watch the full Instagram Live below.