My Dad,my Hero

Baiye Ebai Frida
Posted May 28, 2019 from Cameroon

Growing up so fast in a rural community where mothers rarely educated their teenage girls on Menstruation management was tough.

I was a little girl of nine amongst boys in our home where my mother managed a little eatery and my father a Primary school teacher.

Coming home after a playful day at school and a school uniform stained with blood sent my parents and the whole neighborhood panicking to the hospital fearing I had been raped.

I was just nine years old.How could such a horrible incident happened to me,my mother wailed at the hospital.

After an hour or two of waiting at the Doctor's office,my parents were told I wasn't a rape victim but my menstrual cycle had just started.My mother and other female relatives were as confused as the rest of the community members who had accompanied my parents to the hospital to get first aid treatment for rape survivors.

The Doctor's instructions on how to manage my menstrual cycle fell on deaf ears as my female relatives and my mother considered it a taboo for a nine year old girl and Menstruation.

My father immediately stepped in and asked all the right questions concerning Menstruation management from the Doctor.From that day henceforth,my father took care of my menstrual period and provided me with all the necessary kits and products needed to manage my Menstruation.He gave me sanitary pads four times daily during my period and he dutifully saw to it that I was never stained or embarrassed because of my menstrual period.

On several occasions I tried talking with my mother about menstrual hygiene but my mother will never look at me in the face and talk to me or answer my questions.

Thus,I was highly dependent on my father for all menstrual education.From secondary School to High School right up to the University,my father gave my sanitary pads.Each month,a day before my period starts,my father will show up at my boarding school with a packet of sanitary pads.My school mates eventually noticed the pattern and I became an object of ridicule and mockery for I couldn't calculate my menstrual cycle and know when it starts and ends.

I became a shy student during my Menstruation days and it usually affected my studies.

Gradually,as I grew older,with the use of the internet,I empowered myself with more knowledge on Menstruation thanks to my father who always bought internet tickets for me to surf the net.

Today, through my Organization, Blessing Associates for Women and Children-BAWAC,we train both men and women to facilitate Menstruation management campaigns in our communities.

The little nine year old girl from Molyko Buea with the help of her father is now an expert in Menstrual hygiene management thanks to her father who refused to accept it was a taboo for a little girl at that age to start menstruating.

My father,my hero died on the 4th of April 2019 after our discussion on my humanitarian response to internally displaced persons in Fako Division, Cameroon.

I dedicate this Day to him for stepping out amongst women and managed my menstrual cycle and hygiene for decades.

 

This story was submitted in response to Menstruation Matters.

Comments 9

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Corine Milano
May 28
May 28

Bravo to your father for raising such a powerful women's health advocate! And for helping you through this tough time. It must have been very traumatic for you to be taken to the doctor for something that is natural - I had a similar experience during puberty, around the age of 9 as well, that left me feeling bewildered and ashamed because my mother also thought I was too young to be developing and thought for sure there was something wrong! I am so glad to hear that your father was there for you and that you had access to the supplies you needed and ultimately the knowledge too via those internet tickets. Here's to your father, certainly he is a hero and I am so sorry to hear of your loss. What a beautiful tribute to him on this Menstrual Hygiene Day. With love, Corine

Baiye Ebai Frida
May 28
May 28

Thanks Corine.
My dad was an honorable man, highly principled and the greatest teacher I know.
When alive,he talked about the need and of learning and why a formal education is important, and he talked about the difference between intelligence and wisdom.
My dad talked about standards and values, developing character and what it meant in the course of one's life.
He talked about how to make and evaluate decisions, when to cut your losses and walk away and when to stick it out, even in the face of adversity.
YES, that's my father Mr Besong Joseph Achuo,my Hero

Lisbeth
May 28
May 28

I relate to this story such this Saturday. My mother called me concerning my nine year old daughter and she was like we saw blood in her pant. I nearly fainted. I don't want it to be "period" cos she is young. And I pray the hell that its not what am thinking "rape".
Fortunately, when I called and interviewed her, she admitted she hit that place on a bicycle. Ooh what a relief puha.

So I understand where your parents where coming from. Your Dad as Corine puts it, he is a real hero.

Sorry for the lost! And thanks for sharing your inspirational story. Have a great day.
Warm regards
Lizzy

Baiye Ebai Frida
May 28
May 28

Thanks Lizzy.
My dad was my Rock, Support system and mentor.
My dad an incredible model teacher, strong, charismatic man was always in motion.We all held him in the highest esteem.

Jill Langhus
May 29
May 29

Hi Baiye,

Thanks for sharing your powerful first story, dear! I can't imagine having my first period at 9. 11 was traumatizing enough, let alone having to go to the hospital:-( I'm so in awe of your dad, though, and I'm so sorry for your loss, dear:(

I'm looking forward to seeing more stories from you and hearing about your work and mission!

Shofali Agarwal
Jun 13
Jun 13

What a wonderful story about your dad. We should celebrate our male allies and heros because it just takes one to change the trajectory of your life and perspective on life. I hope to raise my boys to be just like that.

Beth Lacey
Jun 13
Jun 13

Your father was a wonderful man. You have many great memories

Nusrat Ara
Jun 15
Jun 15

You have been so lucky to have a wonderful father like that. Thanks for sharing your wonderful story. Keep writing.

Jacqueline Namutaawe

Hi Frida we salute your dad for being your hero. I too relate with you I remember while going to secondary school my father bought me sanitaries even when I went back home without using them in the first term. He bought more and luckily in term two the periods came. I remember the pads were long yet I was small then so we exchanged and my friend gave me smaller size ha ha ha. Oh the memories of periods.

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