And we are off! 25/10/18
Weighing in at 60 kgs, 4 bags containing the 2,000 cups (pictured) are ready for loading, having been signed off by Qatar Airways … after an amusing staff demo. Whoever invented shrink-wrapping is a genus, especially for fragile bags. (I’m sure airports would not appreciate rogue menstrual cups escaping over tarmacs and luggage carousels.) The 3-leg journey to Abuja will take 37.5 hours, with transits in Doha and Lagos. (Whoever invented sleeping pills… another genius!)
Bring Back our Girls and Medical team Briefing 27/10/18
Today I joined a small group of #BringBackOurGirls campaigners for their daily 5-6 pm vigil for the 112 still-missing Chibok girls, Leah Sharibu & other abductees. All of these men have girls missing from their family or village. Their ongoing anguish is very palpable. It’s 1,656 days since the Chibok girls were abducted – this is etched daily into the dirt at Unity Foundation where they meet (see photo, Gallery tab). Their peaceful protests against Government apathy are often met with resistance. (Earlier this year, riot police tried to break up the group and numbers have since dwindled.) The group is hugely grateful to the support and advocacy by Stop Demand and fellow Kiwis. They were keen to display our New Zealand banner, as a show of our solidarity with them (see photo). This evening, Obim (founder of PeachAid Medical Initiative), her team of midwives and I had an online conference briefing, in preparation for our first IDP camp visit on Saturday. I was encouraged by their research, knowledge and questions.
IDP Camp Cup Distribution: 28/10/18
We had an excellent ‘outreach’ at the Gurku IDP (internally displaced persons) camp, some 90 minutes out of Abuja. Of the 1,800 IDPs, many are from Chibok. All have fled the terror in the north-east. The team from PeachAid Medical Initiative (PMI) were superb – professional and fun, with no taboos on the subject of periods.
A manageable group of 200+ women/teen girls attended the instruction and hygiene session. They were an engaged and responsive group. While none have money for pads, and most use rags or sand, the team thought the take-up might not be great. It therefore surpassed expectations when 140 women and teens expressed a genuine wish to use the cup and queued up. My Cup NZ instruction sheets were given to the few that spoke English, including the woman pictured. (PMI do pre- and post-natal work at the camps and will follow up cup usage over the coming months.)
Please check out the photos I’ve posted on the Gallery page (see tab above, or click https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/menstrual-cups-for-victims-of-boko-haram/gallery) – of the PMI team, the education/hygiene session and the wonderful, warm women. (Clicking on each image will enlarge it.)
The expressions in the women’s faces, upon receiving their cup, should convey just how grateful they were to the New Zealanders who made their gift possible.
Uptake of Menstrual Cups exceeding expectations 3/11/18
Our 2nd ‘cups’ distribution was at the Karama-jiji IDP camp outside of Abuja. As with the Gurku camp, the menstrual cup concept was widely embraced by the women here, with the education session being informative, interactive and fun … as is evident in the short 32 sec clip below.