Today I’m thankful for all the things I have that I take for granted. We are so fortunate in the West. We have no real idea what it is to do without the basic necessities of life. But sometimes we can get an inkling of an idea from people who have traveled to Third World countries and places far from home.
Earlier this year that happened to me. I met a lady who was involved with a group of nurses who go to Africa once a year to do basic health education and medical support for doctors.
In the course of their travels, Canadian Nurses for Africa came upon a strange phenomenon. Girls were missing school one week of every month and they couldn’t figure out why. Some girls reached puberty and simply stopped going to school. On inquiring they discovered the problem was their menses. They had no sanitary napkins and were using grasses and corn husks, confining themselves to their huts for the duration of their monthly period.
The group of women I was with listened to the story of hundreds of African women lining up, ostensibly for health education and immunization shots, which they got, but in reality leaving with their freedom – a small drawstring bag of washable cloth sanitary napkins.
The nurses going to Africa were overwhelmed with the demand. The group I am with started planning, designing, and sewing prototypes. After settling on a design we started sewing the two part sanitary napkin from a pattern put out by Days for Girls. I’ve spent some time this week and last working on them.
Each one takes 10 minutes to sew, 15 minutes if you count cutting them out. We set it up factory style and cut about 50 the first 2-3 hours. Each woman gets three napkins and a holder for free. My time is a small price to pay to give a girl on the other side of the world her freedom. I can’t speak highly enough about the great work these nurses are doing in Africa. I continue to bless them with open hands and open hearts, and with the work of my hands.