The fertility of the Girl mistaken for DIRT

Sis. Salifu
Posted May 14, 2019
Picture courtesy of RR

I remember this day vividly, I always laughed over it. How my period came was actually so strange and its the weirdest. However, today I am able to understand why it came at that particular time.  it was during the weekend when I and my friends had just finished playing, We resolved to go climb a mango trees to plug some of it fruits since we got hungry.

 In the middle of the climbing and the plugging, then came  this feeling of a pouring urine but not urine in my pant. For sometime i tried to ignored it, but the more I ignored it the more it comes, eeii. You sisters knows what am talking about. As the feeling intensified I decided to look inside my pant. Low and behold was this dark coloured nature of blood starring at me. At this I screamed very loud "its blood", drawing all my friends attention who all runs towards me. In a circle I was placed in the middle, typical childhood style. I was then the elderly among them at age fourteen, if I couldn't figure it out who could.  I remember one of them caution me to go home and that I am sick. As we were all contemplating on the cause, one of our school boy over heard us, he was little elderly than me. He came to my rescued. He said " go home and tell your mother, you are not sick". What a relief it was to hear I was not sick. Straight forward i headed home faster than ever.

Upon arrival my mother figured things out already because I was soaked in my dress. Quickly she called me,  "come and I see your dress"? At that point I stand murmuring about how it happened. I confirmed if I was sick! she said No, same response like our school boy said.

Then she told me to go and fetch water and shower, when I finish showering I should come so she dress me. Eeii Dress me? (My eyes where rolling)  dress a fourteen year old girl?, but I always dress myself was my answer. She never mind me but shouted " get away, you are smelling"ha. It was true, I was beginning to smell, I scented it myself. Only then I realise something is wrong but what could it be, only time will tell .  I did as she commanded, when I returned she got this very clean rag's into pieces. Told me to wear it with my pant and place it where the blood is coming. She also gave me extra and ask me to replace when is soak. Puuha! Instantly, I realized it was not a one day thing. She continued, wash them and hang them under the sun thoroughly. I took her advice in good faith and that was it. I kept washing and changing for almost nine good days then one day it stopped.

I was so glad it stopped, so I informed my mother again that it has stopped. All she told me was don't worry when it come again. I said okay shyly and left.  

It was after a week or two that we got a lecture at class about mensuration, our teacher took us on how our tube developed with the egg's and finally why it has to bursts and becomes a "period" or mensuration circle. Here I got the greatest relief. It was then how I begin to appreciate it when it comes. I became so proud that at least I can be referred to as a female. With all the challenges I face when it comes I am happy it comes. I must admit when I started having my "period" my academic attendance drops. This was due to the cramps that accompanied it, also the  feeling of not wanting to soak myself during lectures. I stayed home the first three(3) days when its heavier, towards the 5th to the 7th days is when I do master courage and go to the school but will leave for home toward mid morning to noon. I also remembered the cultural effect personally. In my family if a woman is in her "period" she will be exempted from cooking for the family. So when it was my turn to Cook, with "period" week I was exempted. Initially, I thought it was out of love for me, since I will be in pains then I got to rest. However, I got a different interpretation, it was because at that time you are considered very dirty and unclean to cook and feed others. Like seriously!  This traditional stereo type is real. In Ghana recently a BBC reporter did a documentary about mensuration circle and the girl child. I was amazed to hear in one of the districts of the eastern region , it was a taboo for girls on their "period" to cross a particular stream to schools. This stream was considered a smaller  god like and hence it dirt for these girls to crossover all the time with their "period". I was in shocked when I saw this documentary, but hey it was a reality. Come to think about things I always ask myself, why should the fertility of a girl child be a taboo? Children are a  blessing from God they say, even the Bible agrees with this statement, so why should God blessing be a curse or be dirty? Up to date I am yet seeking the answers to this my questions. This stereo type has left our shy girls wanting to handle things their way when it comes to the word " period". Some parents shy away from discussion this with their girls. They think teaching their girl child about mensuration will "spoil" them. They will explore the secret to making babies, some think sex education and mensuration will make their girls  go after men. Oh how! Sex and mensuration education will rather protect them. It will give them the wisdom as to when to prevent sex and why the need to rather abstain. 

Please let's break the silence of "period". I had a quick observation at  worldpulse here. Its almost about two weeks now when this call for story was published here at WP, yet I saw only few articles on it. Sisters, let break the norm's, taboos, stereo types about mensuration and it related issues. We are our voices, we are our future leaders, we are the generation changers. We must and should effect change now concerning" PERIOD." If you agree with me, then share your story too about mensuration in your country, society and family. 

Now my opinion about the usage of Disposable Sanitary Pads.

Another challenges about mensuration is how to dispose the sanitary pads. Toward the senior high schools, I started using disposable pads. Up to now I do not like the way it dispose especially in the part of the world where I come from with poor hygiene system. Some burn it, but due to the liquid nature of it, its always hard for it to get burn. Again, others also flash it in the toilets, but again with lack of good portable water system in Africa it resolves to wasting of water. 

Also, i realize the disposable pads are expensive in Ghana for an ordinary school girl. For instance Currently, 1 pack of 10 pieces is going for 1$ equivalent to 5ghc. A girl child might use it for only one month period for 5ghc or 1$. It expensive. Every month every girl have to budget 5ghc for a pad.

With the above reasons as regards sanitation, the pads are thrown all over. Literal interpretation means we do know how to disposed them, then again is expensive for the ordinary girl.. 

When I joined world pulse I was exposed to this non disposable reusable pad, its very easy to used. Its one of the best pads I have used before, even though its in a rag like form its comfortable and professional. I have used it personally and I like it. Its produce by RR, a reusable pads company. I realised its environmental friendly and also less expensive. A pack of 6 pieces will last for four 4 years, and all you need to do is wash and dry under sunlight.

As part of my efforts to bring relief to our girls in Ghana, I am working hard to try to bring RR Reusable sanitary to Ghana. Its not easy, but we are looking and seeking for partners who will like to partner with RR, so we can import, supply and sell these reusable pads to our girls. 

I have notice three important key points about Reusable pads from RR, these  are 

1. Its Less expensive compared to the disposable pads

2. It also environmental friendly no littering and above all

3. Its very comfortable and safe to use.

Pls if you know someone who will like to partner with usin Ghana, please they can reach me on the following contact links.

Phone number 00233244949469

 Email address: salamsh2001@hotmail.com

Thanks

This story was submitted in response to Menstruation Matters.

Comments 14

Log in or register to post comments
Kay Link
May 14
May 14

Yes, yes, yes! We do need to break the silence. Our periods are natural and not something to be ashamed of. Your story about your first period and trying to figure it out with your friends reminds me that I am very lucky to have been at home with my mother when I got my period! I am glad you are sharing info on reusable pads in your town. I think the world will need to move towards reusable pads to become more environmentally friendly and produce less waste. Perhaps talking about reusable pads will also help eliminate the stigma associated with menstruation.

Sis. Salifu
May 14
May 14

Oh my dear say it again. Its saddened my heart when I see some of this dirt. I only hope that one day Africa will resolves to use only reusable pads.
Its a laudable point you make there. Maybe reusable pads will put an end to mensuration stigma? Thanks for your appreciative words.

maeann
May 15
May 15

Sis Salifu...sharing your story on PERIOD is so poweful!! No shame because this is how we are... women...it’s natural! I’m curious also with the reusable pads... is it hygenic? wondering here...

Sis. Salifu
May 15
May 15

Ooh it very good per my evaluation. That is how it looks in the picture. It got a bottom clip to the pant.

You just change quickly, like every four hours and you are good to go.
You can inbox me if you need more info. Thanks

maeann
May 15
May 15

thanks...

Dawn Arteaga
May 15
May 15

Your story is so beautiful Sis thank you for sharing! I love the image of you up in a mango tree when you first got your period. Also love your solution to a more eco solution to periods - there is so much waste with disposable everything. Big hugs to you

Sis. Salifu
May 15
May 15

Thank you sis. Dawn. I am glad my story put a smile on your face.
Puuha, its terrible with these disposable pads. I hope we get a quick solution soon.

Olutosin
May 15
May 15

Thanks for sharing your beautiful story. MENSTRUATION is not messy.

Sis. Salifu
May 15
May 15

Thanks for your appreciative words. I am glad you read through.

Jill Langhus
May 16
May 16

Well done, Lizzy. Well done:-)

Thanks for sharing your personal experience with us and for encouraging others to break the taboo, too!

Sis. Salifu
May 16
May 16

Ooh I am just following your footsteps as a hard worker :-).
We are all here to encourage one another and am glad I just did that.
Thanks for always been there for me.
Hugs

Jill Langhus
May 17
May 17

Aw, thanks, dear:-)

Yes! Well, thank you again for all your encouraging!

You're very welcome!

XX

Mikaela Kate
May 24
May 24

Thank you for your story Sis. Salifu, my hope is that it is read far and wide and that many people give to your community. Our blood is sacred, we are not dirty. Your realizations as you grew are so very inspiring. it is excellent that you influence young women to stay in school. it will be a glad day when girls everywhere are stitching their own pads!

Sis. Salifu
May 24
May 24

Aunty Mikaela, thanks very much for your up building comments, I really appreciate it dearly.
And I also agreed with you that we take care of our periods since is sacred. Great initiative you got there. My doors are very much opened for any coaching, training and services for such a wonderful project.
Thanks and have a great day.

Related Stories