On November 21st, I took a 10 minute ride to Hewanorra International Airport. I had told no more than and a little less than two handfuls of people that New York would be home for me for the 6 months that would follow my date of departure.
I had been selected to complete an internship in diplomacy and human rights with an organization called the World Youth Alliance. Of course, I was excited. Alicia Keys and Jay-Z’s anthem about the streets and bright lights that would inspire me was at the forefront of my mind. I probably didn’t think too much about the experience that I would gain at the United Nations because I didn’t want to pee my pants out of excitement. But I never thought that one of the things that I’d be thinking about was women’s health. I am a politics and economics kinda chick; so you see my dilemma.
By now, it’s common knowledge that I am a 25-year old virgin. I have no boyfriend and marriage is probably a good few years away if it will come at all. For now, my anthem is “All I need in this life of sin is my God and my paper”. So please don’t judge me (in Chris Brown’s voice) when I say that I don’t track my periods. They come every month, once a month, and that’s all I felt like I needed to know.
Writing this, I feel a bit selfish; selfish that my concern for women’s health has only heightened since my arrival in New York when I have a ton of friends and acquaintances who suffer with PCOS, and all the problems that come with it: irregular periods, acne, fluctuating weight, and fertility difficulties.
Uh huh? So you were saying New York and Women’s Health?
Yes. So I was saying…. the organization that I’m interning with – The World Youth Alliance – has a sister organization called FEMM. FEMM is committed to educating women about how their bodies work and their reproductive health. To further this cause, the organization created an app – FEMM Health App – which helps women to track menstrual cycles, ovulation times, and their emotions during these times, taking into account all of the factors that affect these things: pregnancy, physical health (weight and exercise), temperature, medicines being taken, etc.
For now, the app is available only for iOs devices but we currently have an ongoing Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the Android version of the app. Since my devices of choice use the Android Operating System, I borrowed a friend’s iOs device to check out what all the rave was about. I opened the app and I was assaulted with a barrage of questions that I couldn’t answer.
When was your last period?
Like really? I know that I had a last period but I can’t tell you what date it was.
What were your emotions like during your last period?
Uhhh… I don’t know.
Needless to say that by the end of it all I was sufficiently embarrassed. How was it possible for me to know that little about what was going on with my body? Clearly there was a lot going on. It was time for me to make a change.
I moved with immediacy. I rushed to download an alternative tracker app on Android since FEMM is not yet available for Android. I rushed and made a donation on Kickstarter to this very worthy cause, and then I sat down to write this blogpost. I end it by asking, how much do you know about your body? I hope that it’s a lot more than I did about mine.
Ladies, let’s do better with our health. In this time of technology there is no reason for us to know so little about our bodies. Get an app – preferably the FEMM Health App if your device of choice is iOs- and get to tracking. If your device is Android, you can probably find an alternative tracker, but I’d also ask of you to make a donation towards the development of the FEMM Android App here. If not for you, help us give this app free to millions of women in Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America whose primary device of choice is Android.
Oh and to my brederin… ‘Nuff times I’ve heard you castigate my sisters about their “wajang” behavior during that time of the month. Man, there is so much going on that you do not know about; that I don’t know about. Women’s health is not only a woman’s concern. Please make knowledge of women’s health a concern for the health of your marriage or relationship, for the nurturing of your daughter, for an increase in your understanding of, and betterment of your attitude towards women.
So, if iOs is your or their device of choice, help or encourage your wife/daughter download the FEMM Health App here. If your, or their device of choice is Android, I’d also ask of you to make a donation towards the development of the FEMM Android App here. If we hit that target, we’ll have it out by March 2017 God willing.
For now, Shalom, y’all!