Two of our seamstresses, one from Limbe and one from Ranquitte, traveled to the southern end of the Haiti to work with occupational students from St Vincent’s in Port au Prince and nursing students in Leogane, teaching menstrual hygiene and construction of the reusable menstrual pads. This trip was made possible thru a grant from the Medical University of South Carolina. Both seamstresses had never made the 7 hour bus ride to Port au Prince and were excited for the adventure. When the bus broke down at the top of a mountain ridge, the trip became even more of an adventure. Another bus had to make the journey from Port au Prince to rescue them, delaying their arrival by 5 hours. Rather than traveling immediately to Leogane, they spent the night in Port au Prince and left early the next morning.
The students from Haiti and South Carolina were eager to get started; the sewing machines were set up and construction begun. The Haitian students are already expert seamstresses, so it took little time for them to learn the basic sewing techniques. The remainder of the time over the two days was spent in conversation about marketing of the kits, menstrual health hygiene and human rights. These same topics had been taught to our seamstresses only three weeks earlier by Abbie Fliegel, a public health nurse in Bloomington. Thank you to Days for Girls for the wonderful flip chart that makes this teaching easier.
60 completed kits were purchased thru a grant and will be distributed to nursing students to determine the acceptability of reusable menstrual pad kits in young women who have previously been using disposable pads. Not only does this money supply our seamstresses with an income, but it also helps us to tailor our marketing efforts in the future. An additional 40 incomplete kits were delivered and will be costructed by the Leogane students as part of their sewing skills class. Thank you again to the Medical University of South Carolina for reaching out to our organization to make this opportunity possible. Our seamstresses and their interpreter made an uneventful journey home only a day before the hurricane landed on the southwestern corner of Haiti and then traveled up the US coast to South Carolina.