My mum had passed on earlier that year (1997) and I was eleven years old, staying with my auntie (my mum’s brother’s wife). I was so afraid of her (she was not friendly to me).
Boom, end of August I visited the toilet and I saw some blood, tried to peep into my vj to check if I had any wound and I had nothing I could see. I then decided to keep quiet. I was now going to the toilet after every hour so that I could wipe off the blood. Time to sleep then thought I had seen my cousin using cotton, went to the other room and stole some cotton kwakungopakirawo (thrushed in), following day had to use tissues till I finished. (Lucky am one of God's favorite toenda kuperiod for 2 and half days).
In September, I didn't go and October the period then came again when I was at school. I had heard some girls talking about it and I listened carefully on how to use cotton. So, I started using cotton (mind you I had to steal the cotton) pakuba apa hauzobe yakawanda (since I was stealing, I tried not to steal a lot) and I made sure that I wrapped it in tissue and flushed it. On the 2nd day in the evening I went to take a bath. After taking a bath my aunty then went in the toilet and unbeknownst to me, I had left the toilet spoiled. She then came to me and said, “are you OK”? “yes I am fine”, I replied. She closed the door and left.
A few minutes later, she came with a packet of cotton wool and said, “ndapinda mutoilet wasiya blood rako, it means you not fine ukutondinyepera kuti you are fine here is cotton wool for you to use. I will give you more lessons tomorrow coz I now want to sleep (I went into the toilet and you left your menstrual blood in there. You’re lying to me that you’re okay)”.
The following day when I was doing the dishes she then came and asked, “when did you start your period, is it the first time or you have gone before...?” I had to lie that it was my first time and she said “now you are now a woman. menstruating means you are now a woman....if you see boys run away, don’t play with boys as you will get pregnant and inini you are the only mzukuru I wilI take care of. Muzukuru wepamberi handichengeti unobva wabva zvako pamba pangu”(I will not take care of any child other than yourself).
So from that day I started using cotton wool and I really wanted to save the cotton since I did not have the guts to go and ask for more cotton wool. I would use tissues some times to make the cotton wool last longer.
I stopped using cotton when I was form 3 coz I was no longer staying with my aunt. I was now staying na gogo and gogo did not afford so I took my mother’s clothes and tore them up to make pads. I would wash my so called pads and re-use on the next period and that's when I also realized that cotton was not good for me coz ndainge ndisisaite masvaura (I no longer had rash caused by the abrasive cotton)
Boom am now 33 and using pads am no longer shy with my periods. I can buy my pads ndofamba muroad ndisinganyare. That's my story Thank you.
The Author of this story has asked to remain anonymous in order to protect the identity of the Aunt she lived with.