Some issues are best understood by women only Tomorrow is Menstrual Health Day. Let us normalise talking about menstruation and render the necessary support. 

Fadzayi Maposah-Correspondent

I had an opportunity to use long distance public transport in the past week. Each time I use public transport there is so much to learn.

 Using public transport is an opportunity for me to be patient mainly with people that I do not know, that I may never meet again, but who can leave with the wrong perception about the kind of person that I am after I have been intolerant or quick to anger. 

I always tell myself that no matter how long the journey, it will end and we will go our different ways. So why not just be civil for the duration of the journey?

When I travelled I had a window seat. I love a window seat because when I get bored by what is happening on the bus I can always stare outside and be busy counting the trees or the buildings! 

Or simply play a childhood game of claiming the cars or the buildings that we passed. 

Someone can be asking why I bother myself; why I do not just read a book or simply sleep?

 I need to see how people behave, interact and also learn from them. So you can imagine how much learning I was exposed to in six hours. 

Even after occasionally dozing off I still learnt a lot.

On my way to the visit, I sat next to a young mother and her baby, could be in her mid- 20s. I later learnt that the baby was just over two years. 

She got into the bus late and spent a bit of time trying to settle and explain to me why she had been delayed. She had tried waiting for a sister-in-law whom she realised was going to be late and then cause her to miss the bus. 

After she had settled, the young mother started calling some people explaining that she had not met up with her sister- in-law.

 She explained to these people that she would have missed the bus had she waited for the sister-in-law.

After about three calls, she was happy that she had communicated. 

She then told me that it was easier to tell people issues than having to answer endless questions if they happened to know something that they had not been told. I nodded in agreement.

She then started telling me that she had not managed to get any food for the baby. 

I told her she could get something for the baby when the bus stops for recess.

Across the aisle, were a young man and a young woman. Initially I thought they were not related until someone called on the young man’s phone and he told the person to hold on, passing his cellphone to the young woman. 

I could relate, sibling issues. There are times when one seems not to have much to discuss with their sibling, then there is a phase where it seems there is just so much to talk about!

Then there were these two women who were seated three seats from each other on the same side as the young woman and I. 

One was in the seat in front of us. I told myself that I had to be awake when they got off so I could see their faces. 

They were from the same neighbourhood and decided to use one taxi to get home. 

This they talked about and decided over our heads. Then they started looking for a taxi. When one of them could not get through on the number she had, the other one called out the number of a service provider that they could try. 

I saw them when they were getting off, they did not seem to look like women who could shout things in a bus!

On the return trip, I did not have anyone sitting next to me. Across the aisle were two women and a baby that was asleep for the greater part of the trip. 

In front and behind me were adolescents that I had seen walk in with huge headphones on. When the bus stopped for recess, I went to the toilet. 

When I got to the toilet, I witnessed what seemed like the railway line that had been proposed from Cape to Cairo! 

Long queue of females. I jokingly said to a grey haired woman like me that my menopausal brain did not like having to wait, especially after I told myself that I was about to relieve myself. 

She smiled and said she could relate. 

The attendant then explained that there was one toilet working and they were expecting the plumber to fix the other one by end of day. That did not help us in any way. 

It was when one woman went in and seemed to take longer than usual that the queue members began to murmur and complain.

 I said since it was cold, one could have a lot to take off and then put on. 

I was supported by another woman who said as women we needed to be more understanding of one another, as we had issues that needed time. Such as menstruation I asked? 

They all looked at me as if I had been vulgar. It takes a bit of time to change sanitary ware, I continued, more difficult when one knows that there is a queue outside. 

As one leaves the room, they want to make sure that it is all spick-and-span, that there are no tell a tale signs. Privacy is power.

Tomorrow is Menstrual Health Day. Let us normalise talking about menstruation and render the necessary support. 

Support at times is just being there and not murmuring and complaining when a female seems to be taking longer than you consider necessary in the bathroom!

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