Since all of the village and PHC women are busy with Narendra Modi’s talk in Anand, I spent the day in Khambhat and had two presentations at school and one at a nursing school.
We arrive at Swaminarayan High School this morning where about 75-100 girls and 150 boys had gathered to hear my presentation. They started with a beautiful prayer and then heard my presentation. Once that was finished, the female students and teachers and I went to a separate room to talk candidly and privately about topics like menstruation, body odor, and hygiene. Most of the girls were between 8th and 11th grade and a bit shy. I told them that I have two daughters just like them and that they should feel comfortable to ask me questions. One girl asked if it’s okay to have a boy as a friend and not as a boyfriend. I explained that men and women can be friends as long as you know the difference between a friend and a boyfriend. I told them to keep distance and make the boy understand that they are only friends and nothing more. I did my BCA presentation as well and told them to share the information with their mothers, older sisters and masis.
At about 12:00 pm, we headed to the all girls 42 Ghaam School which is very close to the Center. The girls were mainly 11th grade students so I didn’t spend too much time talk about hygiene. I shared my BCA presentation and then had one young woman who asked questions for the entire group. She mainly asked about periods, breast growth pain, long gaps between periods, and menstrual cramps. When I visited India when I was younger, I remember noticing that women on their periods could not touch anything in the house nor could she enter or cook in the kitchen. She has certain areas in the house she must stay in and certain cloths to wear and dishes to use. Even if they want to sit with the neighbors outside she is on one side not touching anyone. I think the reasoning behind this was act was to make sure that the woman rested while on her period since such blood loss can cause weakness in some women. However, the community is so obvious about it and has made it embarrassing for the woman by announcing to the world that she has her period. The girls felt the same way as they don’t want people to know what is personal to them.
I returned to CCC by mid afternoon for a presentation in front of nursing students at the General Hospital that is connected to the Center. I had met some of the nursing students during our medical camps last week. As part of their training, all of the nurses are taught how to do breast examinations, which isn’t the case across India. It’s great that these women have the tools necessary to help other women, especially when village women might feel uncomfortable with male doctors.
This evening, Dr. Ankur Raval, who I met at the Lion’s Club, invited me to do my presentation at a CME diabetes that he was hosting. They discussed a couple cases and it was quiet interesting to hear the different treatment options and medicines that you can administer to patients.
I’m glad today was a little bit slow because it give me a chance to recharge for the rest of this busy week!