MY FRONTLINES STORY

Sally maforchi Mboumien
Posted February 7, 2017 from Cameroon
WORKSHOP ON ADOLESCENT GIRL' SEXUALITY
lecture on vaginal care
Peer discussions on sexual and reproductive health education issues
Peer discussions on sexual and reproductive health education issues (1/2)

I saw my father hand a new loin cloth with a pair of sandals and a hand bag to my mother that afternoon my brother was born. Together with other women and men within my community they showered her with all sorts of pet names because she has given birth to another child. It is years later that I understood the importance of bearing a child within my community.

My aunt who had been married for over twenty-five years will cry daily because of insults from her in-laws and other women within the community. I spent most of my childhood wondering why she hadn’t a child although she was the most loving and caring woman amongst my mother’s siblings. I got an answer once I overheard her lamenting and blaming her husband for her childlessness since they carried out a crude abortion which claimed her womb.

Just a few years later I had a crude abortion which almost claimed my life. Besides the physical, material and psychological damage that it had on me, I lived with the guilt of murder and fear of barrenness for over five years before having my first child. That notwithstanding a friend whom I ‘helped’ to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy in order to get married to a rich suitor is childless after fifteen years of marriage.

The situations cited above are very common in my community. It is an abomination to be a childless woman for one will suffer a lot of stigmatization from the people. It is also worth noting that having a child out of wedlock was considered a greater taboo thereby accounting for the high level of crude abortions. This situation left me worried particularly because I had experienced the pressure involved. No parent/guardian talks to a child about their sexuality but every parent expects the child to overcome challenges about their sexuality. I kept wondering to myself how the dilemma could be solved: sex education is a taboo subject, unwanted pregnancy and STIs which come as a result of lack sex education is equally a taboo. Many people will wonder why such an issue could be on my mind for so long. The reason is simple: many of my friends died because of crude abortions, a good number are childless due to abortion and many other STD infections. What malicious damage ignorance causes within my community?

In my teaching career I realized the bigger challenge was to educate girls while the biggest challenge is to educate healthy girls. The challenges that I faced in the 1990s are less than those faced within my community today judging from the statistics of cases of school dropouts due to abortion and unwanted pregnancy for the 2014/2015 academic year. There is much misinformation, confusion and fear in the area of managing sexuality. Neither parents nor school curriculums adequately address issues of adolescence sexuality. Health workers are either judgmental or intimidating towards these girls. Social media and peers influence them to get involved in unprotected sex, promiscuity and even drug abuse.

It is on this premise that I feel the best I can do for my community is to help women and girls to have access to sexual and reproductive health education so that the issue of ignorance, intimidation, fears and too much assumption will be a thing of the past. My vision is to have social clinics where in this vulnerable group can go to have expertise services without fear of being judged or intimidated. These will also be counseling and orientation centres for life skills acquisition and socio-economic empowerment.

Comments 18

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Jill Langhus
Feb 08, 2017
Feb 08, 2017

Hi Sally, I love your vision. I hope it comes true soon:) Good luck and keep us posted on your progress. Thanks.

Sally maforchi Mboumien
Feb 13, 2017
Feb 13, 2017

Thanks dear.I will always keep us posted on my progress

Jill Langhus
Feb 13, 2017
Feb 13, 2017

You're welcome:)

danadabbous
Feb 08, 2017
Feb 08, 2017

Dear Sally,

I think you have a very clear vision and I wish you luck with your action. It is definitely needed in your community to help vulnerable women understand their sexuality and raise awareness of issues. It should be talked about more and more and hopefully minimising the fear the women hold. Good luck! 

Take Care,

Dana 

Sally maforchi Mboumien
Feb 13, 2017
Feb 13, 2017

Dear it is a vision born out of a personal experience which am very passionate to achieve. My community truly needs it and I am confident we will get it. Thanks for stopping by

Immaculate Amoit
Feb 09, 2017
Feb 09, 2017

Dear Sally,

I have followed your work online for a while  and I am really proud of you .

All the Best

Sally maforchi Mboumien
Feb 13, 2017
Feb 13, 2017

Than you Immah dear and please do well to comment and make suggestions to help me achieve this vision

Sophie Ngassa
Feb 12, 2017
Feb 12, 2017

Dear Sally, Thanks for being very passionate about what you do. I believe many girls have a lot to gain from you. You are the light, keep on working to save lives.

Sally maforchi Mboumien
Feb 13, 2017
Feb 13, 2017

Hello Sophie, thanks for the encouragement. Our community really need these things.

gaok
Feb 13, 2017
Feb 13, 2017

Hi Sally, 

Thank you for sharing this story, and this actually apply to many of our African country.

well done

Sally maforchi Mboumien
Feb 13, 2017
Feb 13, 2017

Hello sis, our African communities truly need this especially with the negative influence of cultural taboo. I believe we can get the change we desire

JulieG
Feb 13, 2017
Feb 13, 2017

Dear Sally,

You describe such a unfortunate circle where there is no education or tolerance for discussions about sexuality, and reproductive health and access to birth control and feminine care are taboo.  It's clear your passion is a result of this painful personal experience and it is fueling you to do such important work.  I believe knowledge about our bodies and how they work, including sexuality, are a basic human right.  I love that you are really clearly working to eliminate ignorance, intimidation and fears.  I look forward to reading more from you over the course of your ADC training.

Sally maforchi Mboumien
Feb 13, 2017
Feb 13, 2017

Hello Julie, thanks for this beautiful remark "I love that you are really clearly working to eliminate ignorance, intimidation and fears" because it captures the reason for my vision. I am confident together with sisters like you we will get there

Jill Minneman
Feb 16, 2017
Feb 16, 2017

You have a very powerful vision and will, knowledge, and action to make it happen!

Sally maforchi Mboumien
Feb 18, 2017
Feb 18, 2017

Thanks Jill. You are part of the assets i have to make it happen

Natasha L
Mar 23, 2017
Mar 23, 2017

Dear Sally -  You have put your heart and soul in to your planned life dream to help women and girls have access to sexual and reproductive health education to tackle the issue of ignorance, intimidation, fears and assumptions.  Your own personal adversity and suffering is the fuel to empower you now.  We support you.

Sally maforchi Mboumien
Mar 23, 2017
Mar 23, 2017

Your own personal adversity and suffering is the fuel to empower you now.  We support you. Sis these lines i hold dearly to my heart. I believe when i realise this dream i will have total healing from my horrible adolescent past.

Natasha L
Mar 24, 2017
Mar 24, 2017

I BELIEVE IN YOU!!