Fabric, Ribbons and Smiles
A few weeks ago while in Haiti we gathered with women and teenage girls in a room. There were many easily identifiable differences in the room, but what mattered was not what divided us—in this moment it was what united us.
We all had the same blessings and challenges of being women. We stood in front of these women who were just like us, girls hoping to go to school and change their lives, and women who wanted to work and take care of their families. The difference between us was that when our monthly menstrual cycle came around each month our days went along as normal, but for them, life stopped. Girls could not attend school and it would be difficult for women to take care of their family.
We were able to connect over these challenges. We Pinnacle women wanted to bring help and support through a women’s hygiene kit made from fabric, ribbon and smiles to help our sisters in Christ. For the past year women and teenage girls have been putting together these kits developed by Days for Girls International.
Often, men and women in America don’t think twice about what a menstrual cycle might mean. Some see it as embarrassing, annoying, maybe a little painful or just get in our way, but it doesn’t often stop our daily lives. We grab a tampon or a maxi pad and go on with our day. But for some women around the world time stops.
As we explained how to use each item in the kit we watched their eyes open as they realized what this bag of fabric would do for them. We demonstrated each step to use the kit and they watched eagerly. This kit would gift them their life back one week each month.
I will never forget their faces as we handed out these kits. Their simple questions about a woman’s body. The light gleaming through their eyes. The person whose face has stayed with me is a man who was waiting to see the doctor. He became more and more interested as we continued our education until he realized what this kit was all about. He said through the translator, “Please give me one of these kits for my wife, it will change her life.”
While this kit would change their lives one week a month, they most definitely changed my life. Even as we prepared these kits, sewing each piece with care, it is hard to imagine what the smiles on their faces would really look like. It is hard to realize what this kit might really mean for a girl in school or a mom whose hard life demands that she is working and taking care of her children every day, not just three weeks a month.
That day we all bonded, the gifts of the women and the smiles that beamed not only from their faces but from ours as well. They blessed us by telling us once again what it means to be united as women where color of skin, language and status don’t define us, God does. Where the gift of a woman with a menstrual cycle doesn’t keep us from life but blesses us instead. I am still smiling from ear to ear.
Thank you for your support! Please keep these women in your prayers as we continue to work on more Days for Girls kits for our Sisters in Haiti. To find out more about this program see daysforgirls.org