Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Two words: Bring TAMPONS!!
I realize this post may make some male readers squeamish, but here goes...
One thing they will not tell you about moving to/living in Honduras... There are no tampons! If you want to use them, you need to bring your own. I hear that they are available for sale in Tegucigalpa or San Pedro Sula, but they will likely be limited in selection and overpriced.
Most US women that I know (including myself!) use tampons and prefer them to pads, or use a combination. Kudos to you if you use a more ecologically sustainable method of dealing with your menstruation (The Keeper, the Diva Cup, Lunapads, etc). You will have no problems anywhere you go! However, Honduran women use pads almost exclusively. More than once, one of my teenage students has had an, um, ¨emergency¨ and asked me if I had any spare pads. When I told them, no, but I have this (producing a tampon from my locker in the teacher´s lounge) they turn red and mutter, ¨Um, no, that´s ok... I´ll ask someone else...¨ Some of the bolder ones will ask, ¨What the heck am I supposed to do with THAT??¨
Someone once told me that this is not unique to Honduras, but is true of most Central American countries. There is a certain amount of resistance in thinking that a tampon will ¨ruin your virginity¨ or something of the like, but these are the same types of concerns expressed by young women in the States when they first start menstruating. A little education is all it takes to beat the stigma, but in the end, personal preference always wins out.
I have communicated recently with female teachers who are coming to teach at our school for a year or more, and for other women coming to volunteer long term at orphanages. This is the one piece of advice I give to any woman who will be in Honduras longer than a month, and it´s something personal enough that most jobs or volunteer organizations will not tell you. Every time I come back from a visit to the States, I keep about 1/3 of my suitcase free for several giant boxes of tampons.
So spread the word!! If you want to use tampons in Honduras, bring your own!!