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My Dad,my Hero

Growing up so fast in a rural community where mothers rarely educated their teenage girls on Menstruation management was tough.

I was a little girl of nine amongst boys in our home where my mother managed a little eatery and my father a Primary school teacher.

Coming home after a playful day at school and a school uniform stained with blood sent my parents and the whole neighborhood panicking to the hospital fearing I had been raped.

I was just nine years old.How could such a horrible incident happened to me,my mother wailed at the hospital.

After an hour or two of waiting at the Doctor's office,my parents were told I wasn't a rape victim but my menstrual cycle had just started.My mother and other female relatives were as confused as the rest of the community members who had accompanied my parents to the hospital to get first aid treatment for rape survivors.

The Doctor's instructions on how to manage my menstrual cycle fell on deaf ears as my female relatives and my mother considered it a taboo for a nine year old girl and Menstruation.

My father immediately stepped in and asked all the right questions concerning Menstruation management from the Doctor.From that day henceforth,my father took care of my menstrual period and provided me with all the necessary kits and products needed to manage my Menstruation.He gave me sanitary pads four times daily during my period and he dutifully saw to it that I was never stained or embarrassed because of my menstrual period.

On several occasions I tried talking with my mother about menstrual hygiene but my mother will never look at me in the face and talk to me or answer my questions.

Thus,I was highly dependent on my father for all menstrual education.From secondary School to High School right up to the University,my father gave my sanitary pads.Each month,a day before my period starts,my father will show up at my boarding school with a packet of sanitary pads.My school mates eventually noticed the pattern and I became an object of ridicule and mockery for I couldn't calculate my menstrual cycle and know when it starts and ends.

I became a shy student during my Menstruation days and it usually affected my studies.

Gradually,as I grew older,with the use of the internet,I empowered myself with more knowledge on Menstruation thanks to my father who always bought internet tickets for me to surf the net.

Today, through my Organization, Blessing Associates for Women and Children-BAWAC,we train both men and women to facilitate Menstruation management campaigns in our communities.

The little nine year old girl from Molyko Buea with the help of her father is now an expert in Menstrual hygiene management thanks to her father who refused to accept it was a taboo for a little girl at that age to start menstruating.

My father,my hero died on the 4th of April 2019 after our discussion on my humanitarian response to internally displaced persons in Fako Division, Cameroon.

I dedicate this Day to him for stepping out amongst women and managed my menstrual cycle and hygiene for decades.


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