by Waylon Hedegaard (The Fat Bastard Walking Tours)
Last night, Renee and I had both the privilege and pleasure of attending the graduation celebration of the first class of the maestras for Wise Girls SMA/Niñas Sabias, sponsored by the Rotary Club of San Miguel-Midday. There were wine and margaritas and delicious food all set in a stunning private garden with a lot of good people. It was a wonderful affair, perfect in every detail.
But… for all the beauty, great food and drink and conversation, I would have also enjoyed myself nearly as much celebrating this in an open field in the hot sun. Why? Because the real draw last night was not the party, it was the women who had just spent the last week training and who were so excited to teach girls on the cusp of womanhood about their bodies, its cycles and the wonders of menstruation.
As an aside Renee Ewine and I would love to congratulate our good friend and daughter in spirit Wendy Miroslava Aguilar Antonio for graduating the training. You'll do well here amiga!
In our darkening world, it is easy to fall into the hopelessness of belief that we can’t save the world, but that is a tragically flawed view. Maybe we can’t save it all at once. But last night was a demonstration on how we can all help to save it one young girl at a time. I have never seen a program with a greater opportunity to change the course of young women lives with so few resources.
It was amazing.
Excitement and understanding of menstruation is not the standard here or anywhere in the world. Young women often grow up ashamed of their natural cycles, thinking it is dirty or contaminated, thinking it is something to hide. Plus, they often don’t have resources to deal with this natural issue. Sanitary napkins and tampons are much harder to get in the villages. Too often these girls miss school and other activities, embarrassed by the wonder of what their bodies are doing, and not juts a few day. Those missed days of school easily add up to a month or more.
That’s the equivalent of a serious illness. Every! Single! Year!
That is a disaster for everyone, the girl herself, the future woman she will become and the career she will follow, the family she may choose to raise. Society as a whole suffers greatly from this.
As a white man, I had no idea, and I am embarrassed of my lack of understanding.
No one should ever be ashamed of who they are!
The Lumineers sing a song called “Donna”, and it contains a single line that breaks my heart. “You told your daughter she was ordinary.” It may seem slight, but the mere thought devastates me. No daughter of any background, anywhere, should ever be made to feel ordinary or be ashamed.
They need to be shown how to feel extraordinary!
The entire point of Wise Girls SMA/Niñas Sabias is to educate these future young woman in their bodies and to take pride in them and their abilities. By stripping away the misinformation and shame the have hung over menstruation for generations and teaching pride in the incredible things happening, they can take a young girl and help her climb to a path in life she would not have reached otherwise. By giving them reusable menstrual kits, these future women will have the tools necessary to stay on these paths.
All for remarkably little money. $50 US can raise a child up so that they stay up.
... Tell them the Goddess and her Fat Bastard sent you. https://linktr.ee/wisegirlssma... ... The Rotary Club is the fiscal agent. Just choose the Wise Girls Empowerment project.Please contact us with any questions or more information.