Flashback Friday Meghan Markle

Flashback Friday: Meghan’s Time article about period stigma

In January 2017, Meghan Markle traveled to India for a week with World Vision to work with young women and girls. On International Women’s Day 2017, March 8, Meghan penned an article for Time Magazine about the stigma surrounding menstruation.

“Imagine a world where the female leaders we revere never achieved their full potential because they dropped out of school at the age of thirteen. In the Western world this is challenging to fathom, but for millions of young women globally, this remains their harsh reality for a staggering reason. From sub-Saharan Africa to India, Iran, and several other countries, the stigma surrounding menstruation and lack of access to proper sanitation directly inhibit young women from pursuing an education.

“Based on societal ignominy in the developing world, shame surrounding menstruation and its direct barrier to girls education remains a hushed conversation. As a result, both household dialogue and policy making discussions often leave Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) off the table. Former First Lady Michelle Obama spoke directly about this subject at the World Bank in April 2016, and various NGOs actively seek out policy reform and programming to address this concern, yet the topic remains neglected.

“I traveled to Delhi and Mumbai this January with World Vision to meet girls and women directly impacted by the stigmatization of menstrual health and to learn how it hinders girls’ education. One hundred and thirteen million adolescent girls between the ages of 12-14 in India alone are at risk of dropping out of school because of the stigma surrounding menstrual health. During my time in the field, many girls shared that they feel embarrassed to go to school during their periods, ill equipped with rags instead of pads, unable to participate in sports, and without bathrooms available to care for themselves, they often opt to drop out of school entirely. Furthermore, with minimal dialogue about menstrual health hygiene either at school or home due to the taboo nature of the subject, many girls believe their bodies are purging evil spirits, or that they are injured once a month; this is a shame-filled reality they quietly endure. All of these factors perpetuate the cycle of poverty and stunt a young girl’s dream for a more prolific future.

“The Indian government initiated a campaign in 2014 called “Save the Girl Child, Educate the Girl Child,” reinforcing the value of a girl’s life and her education. And while this initiative steers India closer to the Sustainable Development Goals, (specifically universal education & gender equality), the fact remains that only fifty percent of secondary schools in India have toilets, leaving roughly fifty percent of the population deterred from attending. If MHM were part of the conversation surrounding policy change, just as access to clean water and sanitation, it would push the conversation (and actualization of it) significantly further.

“When a girl misses school because of her period, cumulatively that puts her behind her male classmates by 145 days. And that’s the mitigated setback if she opts to stay in school, which most do not. The latter elect to return home, increasing their subjection to dangerous work, susceptibility to being victims of violence, and most commonly, being conditioned for early childhood marriage. As a female in India, the challenge of survival begins at birth, first overcoming female feticide, then being victim to malnourishment, potentially abuse, and lack of access to proper sanitation facilities. Why, if she is able to overcome all of these challenges and finally get to school, should her education and potential to succeed, be sacrificed because of shame surrounding her period?

“To remedy this problem, young girls need MHM, access to toilets, and at a most basic level, sanitary pads. Twenty-three percent of girls in India drop out of school because these factors are not at play. During my time in the slum communities outside of Mumbai, I shadowed women who are part of a microfinance system where they manufacture sanitary napkins and sell them within the community. The namesake of the organization, Myna Mahila Foundation, refers to a chatty bird (“myna”) and “mahila” meaning woman. The name echoes the undercurrent of this issue: we need to speak about it, to be “chatty” about it. Ninety-seven percent of the employees of Myna Mahila live and work within the slums, creating a system which as, Nobel Peace prize nominee Dr. Jockin Arputham shared with me, is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty and allowing access to education. In addition, the women’s work opens the dialogue of menstrual hygiene in their homes, liberating them from silent suffering, and equipping their daughters to attend school.

“Beyond India, in communities all over the globe, young girls’ potential is being squandered because we are too shy to talk about the most natural thing in the world. To that I say: we need to push the conversation, mobilize policy making surrounding menstrual health initiatives, support organizations who foster girls’ education from the ground up, and within our own homes, we need to rise above our puritanical bashfulness when it comes to talking about menstruation.

“Wasted opportunity is unacceptable with stakes this high. To break the cycle of poverty, and to achieve economic growth and sustainability in developing countries, young women need access to education. When we empower girls hungry for education, we cultivate women who are emboldened to effect change within their communities and globally. If that is our dream for them, then the promise of it must begin with us. Period.”

[Time]

I remember the first time the idea of menstruation stigma entered my life. I was in fourth grade and had just gone through our puberty/sex education lectures, and I was leaving a Girl Scout meeting after school and talking about the lectures and women’s bodies, and one of the mother’s scolded me for talking about it because she said it makes some people uncomfortable.

Even in first world countries like the US, even in middle class homes, starting one’s period can be traumatic, and this idea that we cannot discuss what’s happening with our bodies because it “makes some people uncomfortable” is ridiculous.

Girls dropping out of sports and risking dropping out of school due to menstruation is not just something that happens in poor communities outside of the US, it happens here in middle class homes, too.

Across country lines and social and economic status, having access to menstrual hygiene products, having access to clean restrooms, and even having access to birth control pills (which are used for more than just preventing pregnancy) is so important to women and girls just to live everyday life, let alone have social gender equality.

I think this article from Meghan is really well done, and, in terms of challenging stigma surrounding menstruation, does so much more than the recent articles I’ve read about free bleeding. I truly hope that Meghan continues to advocate for this type of thing in the future.

PS. I know there are some bugs with the site, I have not had a chance to look into them yet. I will look into them this weekend. If the site is down sometime this weekend, it’s me trying to fix stuff.

66 Comments

66 Comments

    1. Looks like she has an editor for this piece. I want to see consistent follow through and practical application before I praise her. It’s a good beginning.

      1. Agree. The style is different from the more effusive pieces elsewhere. And yes, it’s a good start – start being the operative word. No shame in hiring a good editor to pull words into shape.

  1. If MM marries Harry, and if she were to team up with Camilla on women’s issues, that would be one formidable force!

    1. Seconded, Bostonbrahmin.

      Kimothy – I love your “girl group” group too. I’d definitely include Sophie 🙂

      Assuming they do get married, I really hope Sparkles will be able to keep the interest areas she already has, plus create a charity with Harry (similar to DoE’s or The Prince’s Trust), plus take on new charities on her own…and team up with other royal women. I want to see a powerhouse royal couple!

      1. I’d also want them to create genuine friendships with European royals (looking mainly at Victoria, Madeleine and Maxima). That, IMO, would be beautiful and powerful but doubt it would actually happen.

  2. I think someone else wrote it for her. Still, quite a good speech.

    I agree, Boston, if MM does marry Harry and teamed up with Camilla on women’s issues, the sky would be the limit. Of course, Kate would latch on to their cause, wouldn’t she? What a joke for Kate to become involved in women’s issues. Unless, of course, her eyes would finally be opened.
    Thanks, KMR/MMR for this topic being mentioned on the new blog!

      1. Because it smacks of something a professional speechwriter would do and her other posts were not so well put together. She’s an actress, not a writer. Or, maybe, she is learning the ropes and if so, good for her.

        1. Jenny, I agree that this is better written than the more effusive Tig articles. The style is different. Perhaps it has been edited professionally or she is learning to write better.

    1. Meghan is an accomplished writer in her own right. If you followed her Tig blog you’d see that she has written many essays on many topics.

      She is also an educated woman who went to one of the top universities in the US. She is more than capable of writing an article.

      1. She is not an accomplished writer. She needs an editor. Writing is a talent, a gift, and she needs an editor for her thoughts. No, she is not gifted.

        1. But she has written stuff in the past. Lots of stuff. So there is no reason to think she didn’t write this. It’s just that Time’s editors helped her out unlike her stuff on The Tig.

        2. Having someone edit your work is standard in the publishing world. Even J.K. Rowling had an editor for the Harry Potter books. However that is not the same as saying someone wrote it for them which is what I was responding to.

  3. I used to work for a company that was owned by a man who was rather bizarre. He had control issues and would go through people’s desks when they weren’t there (obviously, this place was super dysfunctional). The second-in-command at the company (a woman) told the women who worked there we couldn’t keep tampons in our desk drawers because it made him uncomfortable seeing them when he snooped. Just the icing on the crazy cake, of course, but your story about the mom who scolded you made me think of it, MMR.

    I like old Megan. I hope she retains her spirit if she joins the BRF.

    1. Hi Liz, I would be so tempted to load my desk with every type of feminine hygiene product I could find 😉

        1. Lauri I was about to write the same thing. I’d put a bunch of pads and tampons and feminine hygiene products in my drawer. What a weirdo this guy was.

    2. If he’s uncomfortable with period products, then he shouldn’t be snooping in women’s desks. He could totally solve his own problem by just not snooping in people’s desks.

      I, too, hope Meghan continues the causes she used to support if she married into the BRF.

  4. Good & informative article.

    It’s a shame the royals don’t write articles about their causes. It offers such a great opportunity to provide more detailed information about an issue that can’t always fit in a short speech. Articles also reach a wider audience.

    1. I wonder if Meghan would be able to continue to write these types of articles if she joins the BRF? Women in other royal families are outspoken on a variety of issues but with the exception of Camilla the BRF women don’t seem to take on weighter issues.

      1. I hope she does because I’ve enjoyed her essays!

        If she joins the BRF she will need to create a niche for herself & this is one area she could excel. Once the hype dies down she might find it hard to draw the same media cameras as Kate, so her writing is one way she can ensure she is heard.

        I would also love to see her have own social media account to highlight her work similar to Rania.

  5. MMR,

    I subscribe overall and it doesn’t take. I subscribe to a post and new notifications and it doesn’t take. Help!

    1. I’ll be looking more into the subscription problem over the weekend, as well as other problems.

  6. This was the first essay I read of Meghan’s and rereading it today I am still impressed. I think she writes her own stuff, just this time she had the Time staff professionally edit it.

    Didnt Kate write an article for Huffington on mental health last year? I still think she missed a huge opportunity to write an article to go along with her Vogue cover story.

    1. Kate supposedly wrote it, but it sure sounded like a staff written sound byte.

      Harry has written articles, and of course the prolific writer and man of many words Charles has.

  7. Wow to MMR experiences!! Its interesting to read the different vies on here about different topics. I come from Uganda and in my tribe, starting your menstruation (regardless of age) is a sign of adulthood. I’m many a family in my tribe once a girls starts their menstruation, the father and other clan elders start looking for a suitable man to marry her off etc.. A lot of times its a much older man, sometimes old enough to be your father or even grandfather, sad.. The first time I read this article on the times website, it resonated so much with me because I can relate to these young women in India. But I never thought, not even for a second, that many a young girl in North America go through the same experiences..not identical..but similar. And correct me if Im wrong to assume, of course after reading MMR comments, that there might be girls in North America that get married off the same way we do in my country…just curious.

      1. Hera, I’m from the eastern part of the country. However, MOST tribes in Uganda and especially those from rural areas arrange marriages and marry off their young children to much older men for dowry. The Baganda, Banyankore, Bakiga, Itesots, Karimajong, Sebei, Gishus, Sebeis etc, all are known to practice arranged marriages. Among these tribes, the percentage of education for girls is much lower compared to boys mostly because parents opt to educate their boys as opposed to educating their girls.

    1. There are parts of the US where young girls are married off and it’s not limited to immigrant families bringing their culture with them. Some sects of Christianity participate in this practice and there are those who practice genital mutilation, as well. It’s hidden but it does exist.

  8. I want to say one thing about my puzzlement- why do people like Meghan Markle not work among the people in America? There is so much needed to be done in her neck of the woods and yet like many celebs, she buggers off to exotic places.

    The fact is, America provides the down and dirty and unglamourous. I’m not really impressed by anything unless they work at home. Just like Harry and Willy with Africa, my heavens, there is SO much suffering at home. To begin with.

    1. To be fair to celebrities, I think programs like World Vision and the UN have always actively courted celebrities and put them out front and center to be talked about. After the attention Audrey Hepburn got with UNICEF, I think the UN saw the advantages of having a celeb promote their work.

      Many celebs also volunteer with local organizations like visiting hospitals, serving meals to homeless, saving animals, etc. In my local paper, I see the local NFL players highlighted all the time, for example. But, many US charities promote company partners instead of celeb partners as that’s where the real big money lies. So, St. Jude’s Research hospital talks a lot about its partnership with Target or KMart, for example, more than Jennifer Aniston visiting their hospital.

    2. I wouldn’t classify going on a charity mission to a deprived area in Rwanda & India as exotic. The reason why many people volunteer in that part of the world is because they are the most disenfranchised.

      Rwanda is one of the poorest nations in the world & they rely heavily on charity from the outside world.

    3. To add to the above posters, just because there work at home is not made public doesn’t mean they don’t do any charity work at home. I read an article just days ago about the bracelet Meghan Markle was wearing at the polo game last weekend. I even had no idea it had any significance until someone wrote an article about that bracelet and how that particular project is collecting supplies donated to women i homeless shelters here in Canada and that write was thanking Meghan for using her platform to promote that good cause. People are doing more than they are really being given credit for!!
      And also, I truly apologize in advance for whatever Im gonna say next, there is no intention to insult anyone. What needs to be remembered (and Im just pointing Africa out because that’s where I come from) is that our countries are poor as a result if colonialism, not because we always have our hands out . So whoever is volunteering in these poor counties does so just to give back a little of what was stolen from us. Much gratitude to whoever gives back in time and money because all is very much needed.

      1. MASAMF I’m really enjoying your comments and your different perspective on things. I just wonder how you came across this blog? Was it through an interest in Meghan or via the KMR blog and an interest in the British royals.
        As a Brit ….the biggest Empire of the last few centuries…I am not at all insulted by your comments. Please keep posting.

        1. Birdy thanks for asking. I came across the KMR blog because of my interest in the BRF especially William and Harry. But I also like Meghan as I watch suits and Rachel is one of my faves, so when it was reported that Meghan was dating Harry, I could barely contain my excitement about this couple.

          1. Hi Masamf

            Thanks for your comments. It is interesting to hear the point of view from a different continent.

            Welcome!

      2. I object to charity in Africa because often it comes with conditions that change local traditions and or harm the people in the long run.

        On one hand, some traditions need changing, but for the most part they do not.

        As an example, Ben Affleck has a charity that works with a community in Congo that was dessimated by war and the Lord’s army.

        The good news, it is perfectly safe now and the community can go back to their subsistence farming.

        The bad news is that he has persuaded them to use their land to grow coffee to be sold to starbucks.

        Instead of growing food and tending animals as per their tradition and kept from starving, they are now growing coffee for starbucks as Ben Affleck pats himself on the back for giving them an income they don’t need to buy things they things they need like food from Uganda when they have their own land that they could be farming to grow their own food.

        Charity begins at home, and i applaud those celebrities that work in their homeland above those that use Africa and Asia as a backdrop.

        1. Not every charity work comes with preconditions.

          Rwanda is a country that went through a genocide in the 90s where nearly a million people died. The repercussions is still being felt today. I’m glad we don’t live in an insular world where people from the richest nations are unwilling to aid the poorest.

          On a sidenote the world has benefited from a lot of natural resources that these poorer countries produce. Centuries and decades of exploitation & colonization by richer nations has contributed to many of the issues these countries are now facing. Richer nations cannot now turn their backs on problems they helped to create.

        2. Furthermore, the Queen is the head of the commonwealth & many of these nations are in Africa, Caribbean & Asia.

          The commonwealth is a big deal to the BRF & there is a strong historical tie. If MM joins the BRF she will also be expected to do her part. Therefore her preexisting work in India which is also part of the commonwealth will come in handy.

          1. Firstly, to be clear, i’m not defending colonialism nor denying it’s impact.

            However, it’s imperialistic to keep the narrative that Africa can’t help itself when all it’s resources are being taken by the west and China.

            Keeping that narrative going is exactly how the colonialists justified their own exploitation with added genocide methods to keep it going.

            The Rwanda situation does have it’s roots in colonialists who made artificial borders that put centuries old enemy tribes in the same country whilst also promoting one tribe over another thus creating decades long resentment that eventually found expression in genocide.

            There are examples of the same all over Africa in all the civil wars and genocides.

            Until those issues are resolved, the country can’t develop because prejudice doesn’t allow for the bigger picture that helps everyone come together to develop their country.

            And yet, blaming the colonialists is also too simplistic for the complex problems that beset Africa.

            Corruption is one layer. Foreign govts regime changing any African leaders that dare to keep resources within their countries, IMF, corrupt govts getting rich off the backs of their countrymen and pre-conditioned charities that have the biggest impact such that those charities that don’t have pre-conditions are impacted in how they operate.

            My idea of charity is doctors without borders. They go in to provide a service as needed and get out thus leaving the people to get on with their lives. Not a neverending charity ride that cripples the recipients such that they can’t figure out their own solutions.

            And Rwanda, like Uganda, is one of the most fertile places on earth, yet remains the poorest because charity won’t let it, as well as the aforementioned reasons.

            There is also much evidence to support the fact that govts maintain these conditions because they know the west will send aid and or charity workers to fill the gap.

  9. Without going too deep into history, the effects of colonization are not so black and white and there is more to colonization than meets the eye. Many countries in Africa except South Africa, and I emphasize Africa because I’m African, gained their independence (or got their countries back from the colonizers) AFTER every little spec of wealth had been taken by our colonizers. That left nothing for us to build our countries and develop them off of. Combine that with our MASTERS’S divide and conquer strategies that saw our tribes decided to create borders and this and/or that people belong a certain “country” pitted our tribes against each other to a point where unifying to develop our nations was almost next to impossible, and the fruits of all that is what you see today. All of a sudden, a group of people around the Mufumbiro mountains who speak Kinyarwanda were no longer part of Rwanda but actually were Ugandans, so there is no longer any possibility of these Bafumbira peoples to work with their brothers the Hutus and Tutsis to develop a nation but they were fighting and killing each other because they now belonged to different nations etc. Even today the effects of colonization are still dividing us, our leaders either pledge allegiance to US or Britain or Saudi Arabia or whatever in order to get the constant supply of weapons to kill each other!! So there’s still no unification whatsoever to mobilize to develop our nations because our leaders learned from the best teachers, you divide and rule. S while its easy to say “oh these African countries need to quit whining and start helping themselves etc” its not as easy as one might think; I mean where do we start?
    And re: Ben Affleck encouraging coffee growth etc ( I don’t like the Affleck brothers BTW), there is no harm in people of the Congo growing coffee to sell to the western world. Congo is a vas piece of land and it all can’t be used to grow food crops. People need to pay for education for their children, money to buy salt, paraffin (kerosene) sugar etc and this money can only come from cash crops. A big percentage of us grow our own food and if every person grows food crops, then how will we get money to buy other things that we can’t grow? The batter trade days are in the past, so coffee or cotton or any cash crop growth is no longer an option to us, its a necessity for our survival and livelihood. Oh my goodness, sorry folks, this is so long!!

    1. Re: Ben Affleck example…..he encouraged them to use ALL their land to grow coffee rather than grow food for themselves. So now they have to buy food. That is not a good model when they are using all their land to grow cash crops and not growing food for themselves. What if the coffee crop fails? Then they have no food and no cash to buy food, but hey, here comes a charity with grain or chocolate which may or may not be what you would eat, but it beats starving……..and so the cycle of poverty continues.

      Btw, to be clear, he is not dealing with all of Congo. Just a small area that is recovering from ravages of war and the Lord’s army.

      As for the rest of Congo, the country is one giant resource of minerals. From Coltan (source of Tantulum used in all electronic products) to Gold. Civil war has meant that most of these minerals are fuelling more civil war aided and abetted by foreign govts. No amount of weeping on my part is going to raise their poverty levels if that situation isn’t settled first. And charity simply becomes the crunch that helps everyone look away from the real problem.

      1. Hera I really do appreciate your input but again I beg to disagree on some of your points. There is no way the African man was be CONVINCED to use ALL their land to grow coffee, no way. They might be convinced to use SOME of their land but definitely not ALL. We are talking about smart adult people that have families whose entire livelihood depends on this land, would they be that foolish to sacrifice their children just so they can get a few dollars from coffee? I truly doubt it. As I already mentioned, we use this land for food growth AND cash crop growth, that’s how its always been and that’s how it will always be, so I doubt Ben Affleck can succeed in convincing the Congolese from that part of the country to use all their land to grow coffee. For example coffee and cotton have been major cash crops in my country however, even in the days when coffee growth was at its peak, when there were more than one particular companies (other than Starbucks) to export it to, we still grew both cash and food crops, growing our own food has always been our survival. Plus I know of at least TWO FOOD crops that are major exports from Congo to Uganda so yes, they do grow other crops other than coffee.
        And again, my belief is that charity and humanitarian work helps to shed light (as opposed to helping people look away) on the perils of the peoples that have been negatively affected by wars and colonialism, without charity organizations like World Vision, UN, Medicines sans frontiers, Red cross etc, our countries would be worse off than they are now. And these organizations success in fundraising and delivery of much needed resources is dependent on these celebrities (e.g Bono, Elton John, Prince Harry etc) that give not only time but also money to counter the effects of foreign countries meddling in our countries. I guess my question is, does charity work “becomes a crutch that helps people to look away from real problems” only if its focused onto poorer countries? Because my understanding of your argument was that celebrities should focus on home charities other than going to Africa or Asia etc. If I misunderstood you, I truly apologize, as I’m EASL person, and I’m still leaning this language every single day.

        1. You may disagree, but it’s happened.

          It is sold as a working program that gives the locals a chance to earn money for things they need as you’ve described in a previous comment which is all well and good, whilst the reality is that it has persuaded the locals to convert their land to coffee for starbucks. It’s a penicious programme that way with a lovely glossy website.

          I know that Ugandans are subsistence farmers and most people have land to grow food that sustains them, but we weren’t talking about Uganda, we are talking about a small area of Congo.

          I’m glad that you are impressed with Bono and Elton John’s charity efforts, but i’m not. I’m more impressed with Wangari Maathai.

          Bono and Elton John are good at raising funds, but records show that said funds don’t always go where they are supposed to go. Bono is especially a zero sum effect whereby he provides with one hand, but takes away with another. This was the scenerio with his campaign for cancellation of IMF debt which simultaneausly campaigned for foreign aid to these same countries. It has been proven time and again that foreign aid ends up in the pockets of the ruling elites of these countries. One govt official purchased a private jet out of foreign aid money sent by Britain!!! Increased penury for everyone except the govt official and bono who is a tax exile. His efforts smack of white savior and it’s a shame he is worshipped for his woolly ideas about development and sustainability. And i don’t even support the IMF who are another penicious organisation, but that’s how much Bono annoys me. And a few years after that debt cancellation, those same nations are contemplating going back to the IMF for loans so how did the cancellation help? They went on a spending spree as soon as the IMF controls were removed. In a horrible way it’s a parallel of how banks went on a free for all after banking regulations were removed which ended up being more harmful than a good thing.

          As for Prince Harry, on the one hand i prefer him to William and i believe him to be sincere, but just like William, he looks at Africa through an imperialist view and as a monolith. It might as well be one big safari park to them and only if it has the big five and it were Happy Valley aristos like the Craigs.

          5 days ago Priyanka Chopra had the nerve to pose with destitute African children in Zimbabwe as if there are no problems in India or poor destitute *deliberately mutilated children – Gosh, how interesting!* in India she should be more concerned about. All for UNICEF of course.

          Finally, as i keep repeating, ongoing charity is not a good thing. Red Cross and Doctors without borders (Medicine sans Frontiers) is the template they should all follow which is to go into a situation as needed, provide the necessary needed help and then get out. Not a neverending stream of charity that cripples the receivers such that they can’t create their own solutions because they are waiting for the charity handout. And as i keep repeating myself, those charity handouts and workers have created a situation where the govts know they don’t need to help their own people, but exploit them by keeping them in these situations to keep that charity coming.

          As for the UN…lol. the organisation that stood by as the Rwanda genocide took place. Come to think of it, every war in Africa from independence until recently. It took a hollywood film for anyone to care about blood diamonds and the corrosive effect it was having on Sierra Leone!!!

          I will say this for the UN, it pays very well. A UN job in Africa is the best. The perks are really great. Any help it may provide on the ground is a lucky hapstance.

          A wise man once said to me that you should look to the fleck in your eye before checking the log in another person and that’s my view on celeb charity workers posing in Africa.

          Seriously, if they can change things in Africa, they can help in Britain or USA. We have food banks, old people are dying for lack of heating in the winter, Flint Michigan, Chicago and Detroit. There are problems on their doorstep, but perhaps no cute photo ops and grateful locals to sing them happy welcome songs.

          1. Herazeus, are you African? If not, I find it offensive that you think to speak for them when fortunately there is a an actual African person here presenting a perspective that you cannot possibly understand based on your secondhand knowledge. She is telling you about her lived experience yet you are dismissing it based on what you think you know better than her. Whatever is happening with Ben Affleck and the Congo is probably far more complex than you could ever hope to truly comprehend by interpreting it through your Western lens. African people don’t need your defense as if they are too stupid to know what’s in their best interest. I am sure you mean well but you really don’t know the full story as IT IS NOT YOUR STORY. It’s incredible to me how you’ve dismissed MASAMF’s viewpoint and decided that your opinions on charitable giving to Africa are more valid than hers.

          2. MissGeorgia: wow, just wow.

            Just because i don’t agree 100% with Masamf my opinion is invalidated?

            And will only be restored if i am African?

            Wow, THIS is a club i do not want to belong.

          3. I see the value in comments from both posters, and I wouldn’t dream to tell someone that their opinion or observations or thoughts are not valid. It’s clear to me that both Herazeus and MASAMF have more knowledge than me, and perhaps they are both enjoying hearing a different viewpoint. Also, it’s this type of discussion that enables others to understand the issues that face many African nations even better. I just think it’s incredibly bad form to berate Herazeus for having an informed and passionate viewpoint about such an important topic.

          4. I think there is value from both sides of this conversation between masamf and Herazeus, and I don’t think it’s right to dismiss either side or point of view. People can have a conversation while disagreeing without being dismissive.

          5. Miss Georgia, if I recall correctly, Herazeus does speak from deep personal experience of Africa, as does MASAMF. I am appreciative of the vigorous discussion here between them both. There is not just one narrative about such a complex continent, not just one colour. The conversation illuminates issues that don’t always make it to our ears and eyes, so for that I am appreciative of both points of view.

  10. Hera, I appreciate once again. I guess we’ll just agree to disagree. My argument is that with whichever program presented to the African people, there is always room to cultivate BOTH food and cash crops, again I emphasize, people would be very, very stupid to get rid of all their food crops in favor of cash crops, as a Ugandan, I can safely argue that such a thing is not possible. Its one thing to convince one or two people to do so and an entirely different thing to convince an entire community of 100s of 1000s of people to do so. Most of these programs are run in conjunction with our governments, and these governments own land too, so the first lands that will be cultivated for cash crops eg coffee would be government owned lands, and our governments use prisoners for free labor. Further more, 90% of exports would be government controlled and Ben Affleck, however big a star he is in the US, would not accomplish anything in our countries without our governments, again that takes you back to government owned land first before our communities would abandon all food crops in favor of cash crops. And if the government comes to our communities to convince us to plant more coffee, again because our people have no government subsidies of any kind, the government reps would never ask people to use all their lands for coffee plantations etc. I remember back in the 90s when vanilla was the thing of the time and our government was encouraging people to involve in vanilla etc (and vanilla doesn’t take as long as coffee, coffee takes about 4 years to harvest) still people would be smart enough to not abandon growing food for their families etc, can you imagine devoting all your land to coffee growing for more than 5 years? How would your family survive? My father had a good amount of land back when I was growing up (my father had 4 wives which is a norm back home) and he had acres and acres of coffee plantations. I grew up in a family of 14 children (there’s about 50 or so of us from my father) and each holiday because my mother was the “city” wife, my dad would take us “city” children to whichever home of his choice in the village to harvest his coffee. At any given time, there would be no less that 20 children in one household (African’s tend to have large families). That was the time when coffee growing was at its peak, everyone was growing coffee, we had coffee growers’ co-operative unions, we had coffee marketing boards etc, but even then, no one would exclusively grow coffee and no food, our lands are our survival. This is the reason I don’t believe the people of eastern Congo would listen to Ben Affleck or whomever, and use ALL their land to grow coffee,; I guess I’ll just agree to disagree with you on this Hera.
    Re: UN and Rwandan genocide, I respectfully have to say that your LOLing is not warranted in this case. It is true the UN did very little if not nothing to stop the genocide. But lets not forget that they did little if not nothing while entire communities were wiped out during the Luweero triangle. They are doing little to nothing while the Syrian people are being killed like flies!!! But that is not to mean that they do not positively impact some of the communities where they are involved. You might not believe it but it is organizations like UN, WHO, UNICEF etc that have worked tirelessly to eradicate some of the child killer diseases in Africa. It is organizations like these that have helped to slow down the spread of AIDS in Africa. It is organizations like these that are helping with the Ebola epidemic today, if not for them, I hate even to imagine when the African peoples would be today. And even if celebrities give with one hand and take with another, there is always something left over that benefits these impoverished communities.
    Lastly, I don’t believe that these organizations and celebrities helping in Africa or Asia deprives the US or British communities, my belief is there is enough for all of us. Taking the speck out of your eye first don’t mean don’t mean if another one has a speck in their eye just ignore it. As the Lord says, when I was hungry you gave me to eat….now enter into the kingdom of my Father. We do unto others what we would like others to do unto us, that’s how I view all the charitable work done in Africa and else where in the world. Much gratitude to everyone involved.

  11. As an African who follows Lola Heart and KMR, I say a lot of former colonial African countries are economically and politically messed up because of corruption, bad leadership and mismanagement. Enough of blaming colonial powers, already. This is fifty + years later of independence in Uganda including many other British colonies.

    1. Judi, my intention is NOT to blame colonialism 50+ years later, and I do apologize if that’s how my posts came across. What I intend to say (if you read all my posts) is that what Africa is today (including corrupt and greedy leaders) is a result of colonialism, and none can convince me otherwise. We will never know where the African man would be today if all our minerals and other natural resources were left intact, we will never know what we would be like if the colonialists had not messed with our already established rules of government that were deemed “satanic” etc when the colonialists came to our lands. What we do know though is that when they did come to our lands, they took everything that was of value and left us with nothing and they divided us, conquered and looted and left nothing of worth except of course the land that could not be taken, that’s where our lands stand today. My augment was that celebrities and organizations like UN, WHO etc are doing a great job doing charity work in our lands, we need them. And charity work or any funds raised by these individuals can be used to meet the needs of not only people here in the western world but also in far lands like Africa and Asia etc. I just did not agree with dismissing all the time and money donated for charity causes as just PRO props for celebrities etc, that’s all I’m saying. And I apologize for the reader that responded to Herazeus comments, my intention was not to start a fight here. This will be my last post on this matter. Thanks everyone.

      1. I’m sorry to read you will not talk further on this. I’ve enjoyed reading your discussion with Herazeus.

        1. This is all very interesting, thanks ladies. I always learn something on KMR (or rather, MMR). The consequences of removing one form of governance and common law and replacing it with an anomalous one and creating new boundaries without any regard for cultural groups is long-standing. It’s definitely complicated. Certainly these countries have the right to self determination and to develop in the way they wish. I do think the subtleties of African history and the way disparate African countries are carving out their future are lost on William, he’s in a unique and privliged position to be able to inform himself on and doesn’t bother. He’s just playing at being a modern royalist, but he still believes in a hierarchy of culture, I bet.

      2. I’ve enjoyed reading both points of view on this issue. So thank you, masamf, for discussing your experience.

    2. No one is saying colonialism is entirely to blame but it would be disingenuous to say it doesn’t play a part. Many conflicts in the world today can be traced back in history whether it’s in the middle east, africa, or northern ireland. Psychological scars doesn’t have an expiration date.

      1. I too appreciated the dialogue, especially because it was respectful. I was able too take something from both viewpoints.

  12. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers who post. Was also enjoying the discussion between MASAMF & Herazeus…..I think everyone can respectfully have a point of view which is why I like the KMR & MMR forums. Blessed day to all and good on Meghan for speaking out on this period topic.

    1. Hi MerryGirl

      Thanks for mentioning Mother’s Day. It was Mother’s Day here too in New Zealand and in Australia.

      And I’d like to do a shout out and a thank you to the ladies who are filling a Mother role for those without a Mum.

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