The Project (camp gyno meets “alternative” medicine)

As I was contemplating my participation I spent a week reading and re-reading the project description wondering, “but what would we be doing?” So I was thrilled to receive more information on our liaison, a Peruvian anthropologist and PhD candidate named Cynthia who will be connecting us with local women’s organizations and leading the collaboration.

Her initiative (and blog) is called the KillaWarmi Project:

“Thus, Killa Warmi (Moon Woman in Quechua, Andean native language) Project was created for Andean women and girls of Peru. It is a reproductive health education project aimed to bring reproductive control back to women, focused in the reconnection with the sacredness of women’s bodies, the wisdom and knowledge we have as women of our bodies and processes – just by living in them and being connected to our cycles – , the revaluing of our connection to Mother Earth as women, and the strengthening of local feminine support networks.”

She’s been doing this stuff for a while, specifically with the Andean community in Ancash. BTW, here’s where that is, in reference to Lima:

I was excited to see Cynthia’s emphasis on celebrating the female body and it’s natural processes. This isn’t an easy thing to do, even in our own comparatively pro-woman culture. Remember when that tampon ad went viral for being so straight forward, but the service it promoted was all about keeping your period a secret?

It makes sense, then, that Cynthia has been working in communities all over–including here in the US. Recognizing maternal health problems as a social justice issue rather than a logistic or medical problem is important to me, and this project gets that.

In her post on this summer’s project Cynthia discusses some specifics:

  • Menstrual and sexual health program for girls at Shilla school. Donation of Luneras menstrual pads (donation KW) and Lunapads(donation from Canada). Beneficiaries: 250 girls and teens
  • Participatory workshops with women on feminine wisdom and medicine including menstruation, birth, and menopause. Special attention will be given to recovering and strengthening women’s ritual, ceremony, and songs. Participatory organization of a Rite of Passage ceremony for girls around Menarque pacha
  • Community work with Shilla public health center (Ministry of Health) and local schools to bridge intercultural barries so that local Andean women and girls can be more respected based on their woman’s wisdom and cultural practices
  • Sharing with rural Andean midwives, in order to learn from them, celebrate them and revitalize the honor and respect for them in the community. Thanksgiving Ceremony
  • Recovery of female medicinal plants: Organic community gardens, organic school garden, and home organic gardens with special attention to women’s health herbs.

So there you have it, the guts of the project that get me all giddy and inspired. I’ll leave you with that commercial that, honestly, I love, despite the silly service it promotes:

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