Do Canadians Eat Snakes? - Melissa

It's 11:08PM on Tuesday night. I'm laying on my mattress in our purple room, typing on my tablet that Microsoft donated to us, covered by a beautiful mosquito net tent with lace across the top. Five of the most incredible humans on the planet are laying on their mattresses in their tents next to mine. We are exhausted, we are overjoyed, we are growing. We are so lucky.

If you follow us on insta (@ddivaday), you may have seen my story recently: I wrote a blog post on Sunday night after an inCREDible day of overwhelmingly beautiful experiences. Carol proofread it for me at 2AM, and after some technical difficulties, I saved it and fell asleep to post in the morning. Of course, by morning my tablet had restarted, and my recounting of the day was lost. Classic. A brief recap of Sunday: Bob (Malindi's dad Zabde, who has adopted us fully as his daughters) took us to Nambale, the village where he grew up. He showed us his beautiful home, and we had the privilege of attending two services at the church he grew up in -- one in English, and the other in Swahili. To say I was moved is an understatement. I cried probably six times. If you want the deets, ask me.

We've lived at least twelve lives since then. Time passes so differently here.

We finished our first workshop today, and WOW was it a rIDE. After a year of preparing, of pouring ourselves into this Thing that is so important and means so much to us, we have experienced many Big Feelings in the doing of the Thing. Yesterday upon arriving at the Shakunga Primary School, we were ushered into the headmaster's office to be welcomed and thanked for our work; we met with the teachers and the some of the team of incredible humans who helped facilitate Diva Day on the Kenya end. We were met with such gratitude and acknowledgment that the work Diva Day is doing is necessary and important -- from the MEN who are leading these schools. What a gift! They are ready and willing to pass the torch, and we get to have a hand in facilitating that fire being passed to the upcoming generation of young Kenyan women. We literally wept with joy and gratitude. The four female teachers then led us to those young women.

The two days of the workshop were terrifying. And humbling. And silly. And joyous. And a reminder that Kenyan 13 year olds are still 13 year olds who may sass you. We had to adapt our entire model of the workshop, since our Handbooks and DivaCups are still in the shipping container in Mombasa, awaiting security clearance. This process has been a huge test of flexibility and problem-solving and resiliency, and I am so proud of us for meeting those challenges and holding each other up. And wow, is it ever rewarding.

How can I express the feeling of seeing a girl come to own her menstruating body as normal, healthy, and beautiful? To see her eyes light up as she realizes that she's not alone? To begin to feel comfortable talking about these experiences with her friends and her community, and to share those with us? It's otherworldly. And a long, bumpy road to get there.

And for some reason, they all thought that Canadians ate snakes.

These girls have my heart. And tomorrow, we get to do it again. :)

Malindi Ayienga