In December 2022, I returned with my daughters to my homeland of Zambia after an absence of 3.5 years. Words can’t even begin to describe what that felt like, to walk on the land of my ancestors, to be reunited in the arms of family, to breathe in all of the familiar scents and taste the flavours of my youth. It topped up my tank on so many levels and one of the highlights of the trip was doing a talk where I shared the gems of menstruality leadership that I have been practicing and had the chance to hear from the women of Zambia what their experiences have been with knowing how to take radical responsibility of themselves.
Ladies, the Power Is in Your Hands – is the title of the talk that I gave on 5 January, 2023. I shared my personal menstruality journey from extreme pain to a deeper understanding of my body, how to care for it and a place of welcoming and embracing menstruation. I introduced the tools that I have used along my journey which have been extremely benefical to my progress and also explained the history of these tools, where they were lost and why.
We had a few handfuls of women (with a couple of men) from all sectors of the community gathered at Sandy’s Creations Conference Centre to listen and then share their experiences. At the end we sat around circular tables with cups of tea and a delicious spread of food to continue the conversation and share our experiences. I learnt as much as I shared. A common theme from the feedback of the whole experience was how grateful the women were to have a safe space to learn and share about the topic of menstruation which is so often shrouded in shame and secrecy. There was such a deep longing to learn more and have regular safe spaces to gather as women.
It felt like the start of something so beautiful.
One of the women that attended the talk, a registered nurse commented:
A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.
Yesterday I learnt to take care of who I am mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually through the knowledge acquired by the great minds I met.
As a woman, hormonal imbalances are normal but you need to study yourself, watch what you ingest, love yourself to be able to nurture yourself through the imbalances because nobody else will.
Pelvis steaming is a necessity that every woman needs..
Another participant, a student of nursing in Zambia, shared that at University they had been taught that pelvic steaming is actually dangerous and should not be practiced. How misinformed this teaching is and so important that talks like this are happening to educate the women differently. To remind them that the practice of steaming is a practice that goes way back, to a time before hospitals and trained medical doctors, to a time when healthcare was practiced using local plants and anecdotal practices.
A seed was planted of the need for future talks, women’s circles and short courses in Zambia. Sandy’s Creations Resort and The Health and Wellness Centre (a brand new Nhima accredited 28 room clinic due to open in Lusaka in March 2023) were two of my main sponsors of the talk. The hope is to hold future wellness events here and create a real hub for complementary therapies alongside general conventional practitioners. I’m excited to be back home now preparing the material for these trainings and looking forward to collaborating on future projects in Zambia.
As a side note, I hired a professional videographer, MPact Visuals, to film the talk which was a huge stretch for me. As someone that used to earn my living behind the camera capturing other people, it may come as a surprise to you to know that for me being the other side of the camera evokes the kind of discomfort that brings on an instant cold sweat. Well I sweated my way through it, and I did it! The result is this beautiful edit of my talk which can be shared far and wide and hopefully serve to create a huge wave of movement within Zambia and beyond to inspire women to take empowered action on their menstruality leadership journey.
Here is the replay of the talk – please share it far and wide!