I remember the first time I saw my period. I was in J.S.S 2. It was a Saturday afternoon. I was serving punishment by cutting the grass because the previous day, I was caught jumping from room to room after time out. Of course I wasn’t taking the punishment seriously, My sister was the water prefect, one of the most powerful positions in school, so I was waiting on her to come bail me out or assign another junior to cut the grass with me.
While I pretended to serve my punishment. I saw blood trickle all the way to me feet. I knew immediately what it was. I had been waiting for this day forever but when it finally came, I got scared and panicked. I dropped the cutlass and headed straight to my sister’s dormitory. When i got to her, I broke down in tears and told her I may have started my period. First thing she said to me was “good for you. now you can use menstrual pain as excuse not to attend chapel on Sunday or to get out of hostel chores. Secondly, you cannot be seen hanging around boys in school. Stay away from them. You hear?” I nodded in agreement
Unfortunately, she could only get me water, sanitary pads were scarce and no one was willing to do ‘trade by barter’ because visiting day was still weeks away. We also couldn’t afford to buy from the hostel’s pantry as we were always short on cash then. So my sister cut one of her small towels into 6 pieces, asked me to always alternate them and wash with disinfectant as soon as I was done. I didn’t like it, but I had no choice and she had sacrificed her towel for me
By the time my sister was done putting me together and teaching me how to use the towel, I had gotten over my initial panic and was already feeling like a “GEE”. I could count how many people in my set had started menstruating so this put me ahead of them in some way.
I walked majestically to the floor were my mates were gathered, sat down with them for a while and stood up like I was ready to leave. After taking a few steps, I asked all of them and no one in particular “check my back, is my clothe stained ?” They all looked up at me in shock. “Ah ah. BAZINGA!!! Who is the queen of J.S.S 2 now?” I thought smugly as they all rushed towards me to ask questions. I soaked in all the attention, and gave them the “how” in slow details
This may look like a small act, but for the 40% of teenagers in Kenya who can’t afford this necessity, they will be eternally grateful