The Story Project | Mradi wa Simulizi

Have you ever wondered how people your age in other cultures were taught about puberty?

Through conversation with friends from other African cultures over the years, and through my work as a medical interpreter*, I have realised that there are commonalities in our experiences of being taught about puberty/sexual health — and in the dearth, too. As most of you know and may agree, our cultures often harbour taboos around discussing these matters; this leads to knowledge gaps that impact lives later, sometimes gravely. So here I am attempting to collect personal anecdotes and short stories about this from people who grew up in African cultures, whether on the continent or elsewhere. Responses are completely anonymous, so share as much as you’re comfortable to make this a great a collection as possible! I will be publishing them on this blog as they come in, so keep an eye out to see yours and to read others (like this one that is exemplary that it’s exactly the kind of response I’m hoping to get). The internet is a powerful too for connecting people, so let’s make use of the platform to broaden each other’s minds. Thank you so, so much in advance for contributing to a conversation that will hopefully begin to counter the stigma/taboos around the topic of reproductive health and therefore narrow the knowledge gap.

Here‘s the form. My hope is that you will respond as though recounting to a friend; feel at ease, for neither your name nor e-mail address will be collected.

*Apologies, but I cannot give medical advice (yet)! For questions of this nature, please ask a licensed practitioner.

Thank you so much for your participation,

Sylvia

***

Je, umewahi kujiuliza ni namna gani watu wa umri wako kutokea tamaduni zingine walifundishwa kuhusu kubalehe?

Katika mazungumzo na marafiki zangu walio Waafrika na pia katika kazi yangu kama mkalimani wa kiafya*, nimegundua kuwa kuna mfanano katika jinsi sote tulivyoelezwa kuhusu kubalehe — na katika mapungufu ya hayo maelezo. Kama wengi mnavyofahamu na labda mtakubali, ni mwiko katika tamaduni nyingi kuzungumzia haya maswali waziwazi; hii inachangia ukosefu wa ufahamu sahihi, ambao unaweza kusababisa madhara huko mbeleni. Kwa hiyo basi hapa ninajaribu kukusanya simulizi fupi za binafsi kuhusu kubalehe kutoka kwa watu waliokulia katika tamaduni za Kiafrika. Simulizi zote zinakusanywa bila majina, kwa hiyo jisikie kuhuru kuandika jinsi upendavyo ili huu mkusanyiko unoge iwezekanavyo! Hadithi zote nitakuwa nikizichapisha humu, kwa hiyo uwe unaangalia hii tovuti ili uone yako na usome za wengine (kama hii ambayo ni mfano mzuri sana wa aina ya simulizi ninazotumaini kupata). Mtandao ni kifaa chenye uwezo mkubwa wa kuunganisha watu, hivyo tutumie hili jukwaa kufunguana fikra. Ninatanguliza shukrani zangu za dhati kwako kwa kushiriki katika haya mazungumzo ambayo nintumaini yatachangia kuondoa aibu na miiko juu ya masuala ya afya ya uzazi.

Fomu ya kujibia hii hapa. Tumaini langu kwamba utaandika kama vile unamsimulia rafiki yako; jisikie huru kabisa, sikusanyi majina wala anuani za barua pepe.

*Samahani, kwa sasa bado siwezi kutoa ushauri wa kiafya! Kwa maswali ya namna hii, tafadhali muulize daktari aliyefuzu.

Ninakushukuru sana kwa kushiriki,

Sylvia

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