Sunday, May 9, 2010

Padding the resume.

Some of the young women who enthusiastically took on the task.

The young women from my nedi neswi, or women's center, who accompanied me to last month's weekend health workshop in Agadir are taking quite seriously the charge to share the information they learned. We have a big session on gynecological help planned for this coming week, open to all girls and women in the village, kind of a test run before we start visiting the remote outlying villages that surround our community.

But to kick things off, my young women totally took the initiative to plan and execute a workshop at the nedi on making "gladrags" ~ homemade, reusable menstrual pads. From making the announcement to gathering the materials to leading the class, Malika and Fatna took care of everything on their own, absolutely no assistance from me. I was as proud as a mama bird.

The session was well-received, too ~ 15 enthusiastic young women and another 10 older women hovering around the edges, asking questions and offering suggestions while attending to their own needlework. Everyone went home with a new pad and the pattern/materials to make more. This seems like such a simple concept, but again ~ with commercial pads prohibitively expensive, this can really transform how a girl feels about herself during her monthly period. Even better, they had a great time making them together ~ a sense of solidarity and accomplishment. Kudos again to Tanie, Laila and Lori ~ the Peace Corps volunteers who introduced the gladrags at our Agadir workshop.

Tracing the patterns.

Cutting the pads out of old cloth.

Announcement and schedule for the workshop.

Malika studying her Arabic-English phrasebook.
After the workshop, and the yoga class that followed, I marked a major (to me) milestone in my work at the nedi. I was invited into what I call the "inner circle" ~ the women who make hlwa (sweets) in the kitchen, which is also the home of the mudhira, or nedi director, Aicha. It seems like such a little thing: "Wah, Becki, come in and help us bake cookies." But it was the first time I was invited, and I read it as a mutual sense of comfort with one another. Our relationship has been taken to the next level, you might say. Or, at least, I do.
Filling cookie tins with a mixture of jam, sesame seeds and glace fruit.

Aicha makes a yellow cake with a glaze of freshly squeezed orange juice and sugar. It reminds me so much of my mom's "lemonade cake" ~ a much-needed taste of home so close to Mother's Day.

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