I'm writing this, rather than Sue, because we're conscious that we've posted so little since arriving in Toliara and Sue has been just so busy.
Right now in fact, Sue, our friend Maggie, and Dr Zoe, are leading a session attended by over 200 Malagasy girls and women, focusing on the biological, health and hygiene issues around reproduction and menstruation, and how the Days for Girls kits could play a valuable role replacing more improvised approaches during 'that time in the month'. This kind of material is not covered in the local schools, so receiving accurate information is a significant thing in itself.
Dr Zoe is a Malagasy doctor from Antananarivo. One of Dr Zoe's professional qualifications is a Masters degree in Public Health for which she studied in Hawaii. She and her family have come to Toliara for a week. Their trip is in part vacation, and in part so that Dr Zoe can explain women's health issues in Malagasy here in Toliara. Before coming, Dr Zoe took the Days for Girls Powerpoint presentations in English and created versions in Malagasy. She also brought a Malagasy video about 'tippy taps' of which more in a later post. It is wonderful to have her here in all kinds of ways. Most obviously, of course, Dr Zoe can ensure that nothing gets garbled in translation between English and Malagasy. Also, she is enthusiastic about the contribution Days for Girls kits could make in the future throughout Madagascar. On top of that, she's a lovely person!
If I understand the plan correctly, a sizeable number of the Days for Girls kits we brought from the US will be distributed today on a lottery basis. "Runners up", so to speak, will be given toothbrushes and toothpaste; many folk here simply can't afford such things. Days for Girls kits will also be available for purchase.
In addition to today's large meeting, Sue has been teaching a group of around 20 women to make some items intended both for local sale and eventually for Fair Trade sale in the US. The same class will learn how to make Days for Girls kits. This smaller group of women includes the candidates short-listed by the Diocese for a new position as Coordinator of Women's Crafts.
I'm sure Sue will post some better articles in due course, with pictures. But we felt that especially those of you who contributed in some way to the Days for Girls kits we brought with us, and the supplies to make more, and those praying for the success of our venture, deserved a post today.