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The Red Tent in my Country

After I had read my VOF fellow correspondent sister Nilima’s “The Red Tent” of module 2 assignment, I remained with many questions to my mom. To be honest, I hadn’t faced the discrimination and challenges which she and her fellow Nepali girls suffered in their menstruation period. Regarding that monthly bleeding, our girlhood experiences are quite different. I think it can be because I was born and brought up in the biggest city of my country or we are in the 21st century. So I wonder the experiences of girls from rural areas and from my mom and grandma’s age.

In this case, the girls and women from Myanmar are very lucky. In my mom’s time also, they did not face any discrimination and barriers regarding the menstruation. In our tradition, we call it “ Yarthi Lar” or “Damatar Lar” which means “monthly phenomenon” or “natural phenomenon”. So, obviously, we regard it as a natural physical phenomenon. I love the way we present the term so much.

I shouldn’t say we are not absolutely discriminated for our monthly cycle. At the time of my mother, there used to be some small limitations for girls who are in rag. “We are not allowed to go the shrine and we cannot live very close to men and if we are young girls we should not live closely to our fathers, brothers and uncles” my mom said. Apart from that, we don’t have big challenges. We go to school regularly and we can run our daily routine as normal. Although the quality is bad, we have separate rest rooms for man and woman almost everywhere. When I joined my swimming class, we, girls, could have a leave during the course for the period of menstruation.

It happened to me when I was in my Grade 6, at the age of 11. It was at a night where my cousins from our extended family were chatting and playing. Before that time, my mom had not talked and taught to me about the case. I, however, was enough fortunate. At that night, while playing, I felt strange inside my underwear so I went to the rest room and checked what it is. I saw blood in and I was suspicious if it is because I had heard about if from my elder cousins. At once, I talked my happening to them and they confirmed it. My cousins helped me a lot how to face it, how to keep myself clean, how to behave and pass it. That was the exciting experience for me and also unwanted thing for me. I hate the pain in those days. It was very unused to for me. Thanks to my sister’s support, I became familiar with it and cay stay comfortably. Later, I asked to my friends at schools and shared our stories and learned from and teach each other.

Although, we do not talk about it openly in school or in family, we cascade the knowledge about the menstruation among sisters and peers. Mothers also lecture to their daughters. I have witnessed some of my friends’ fathers concern about their daughters’ menstruation health. Of course, as a country which used only 2% of GDP for health and education, we do not have any educational and awareness program for such a case. Traditionally, we care for ourselves. In the past, although women used clothes during the period they keep in clean washing and ironing. My mom said so. Today, even in rural, most of the women use sanitary pads. We can buy it even in public.

So, our situation is neither too good nor too bad. Myanmar women are pretty lucky for that case, anyway. I wonder what about in other community.

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Comments

HARMONY's picture

your cousins are wonderful!

your cousins are wonderful! And I hope you will be able to help younger one in your community.

Trust your HOPES, not your fears... Harmony

Insha Allah's picture

sisterhood

Dear sister Harmony,

As I am the eldest one in my family and I have two younger sisters, I helped them as the way my cousin seniors helped me. Of course! We have to support for the needy if especially we are lucky enough.

Best regards,
Insha Allah

Shwe Wutt Hmon

HARMONY's picture

That's great! Do your sisters

That's great! Do your sisters knoow how lucky and blessed they are to have you as elder sister? Please tell them Harmony says they should learn from you for they are living with a treasury.

Trust your HOPES, not your fears... Harmony

Insha Allah's picture

learner

Dear sister Harmony,

Yes! I'll tell my sisters so and at the same time, I also should tell them I am also learning from you all, the 31 wonderful women from the respective communities.

best regards,
Insha Allah

Shwe Wutt Hmon

nilima's picture

hey Inshah, thank you so much

hey Inshah,

thank you so much for bringing this story out among us. I am much surprised how it developed from a conservative belief to this modern thoughts. I can see your mom had lil barrier and restriction but at the time of yours it changed. I also expect and hope to see that change in my generation and upcoming generation.

That is the thing i see in your story - a development ! I am much thankful, grateful to you for listening to my request and i thoroughly enjoyed reading your piece! I am much much happy Inshah!

thank you for sharing this to us! thanx a lot!

Insha Allah's picture

Dear sister Nilimi, Yes!

Dear sister Nilimi,

Yes! What you see is exactly right. Today, it my younger sisters' time, it is more developed. When I were high school, if we kept the pad ourselves, if we face it in case, it is difficult to get the pad and we sometimes faced very difficult at the middle of the class. Now, my sisters say they can buy it easily in the school shops where they are sold very publicly.

Thank you so much for giving me the chance to contribute in the group you initiate.

Best regards,
Insha

Shwe Wutt Hmon

nilima's picture

thank you so much Insha and i

thank you so much Insha and i am also only the member of this group and thanx to the one who have created this platform!

Insha Allah's picture

we ALL are great!

Dear Nilima,

I carelessly thought you are the group creator. Anyway, it's not the matter and we all are great. Right?

Best regards,
Insha

Shwe Wutt Hmon

nilima's picture

yes yes this is what matters

yes yes this is what matters and being the initial member its my pleasure to include you all here! an di am happy that you all are here:)

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