Last year I was in Jamaica assisting Seane Corn at the Cabribeann Yoga Conference. On the last day of the conference, a woman attending asked Seane and I if we wanted to meet an incredible woman doing amazing work not far from where the conference was held. Sister Jackie was doing something amazing. She has been creating a home for abandoned and orphanged children, kids with various degrees of physical and mental disabilities, HIV positive children, young mothers, and any children in the area that needed a meal and refuge at what Sister Jackie calls the "House of Love". She provides food, shelter, education and love. Its sparse, but its a beautiful created family. Thats an even larger challenge to education in Jamaica because each child is required to pay school fees, and their is bus fare daily, and money must be sent for lunch.The surrounding community, (and as I grown to learn actually a lot of the island knows) knows every well whom Sister J is. She is a bright, vibrant and loving woman and I was moved by her joy, strength and connection to spirit. She has an awesome sense of humour and has such a powerful presence. I was very moved by my brief time at Sister J's place last year. An age range from new babies from teenage moms, teen girls, young boys, toddlers and a handful of elders over the age of 90. About 14 children leave there full time, others pass in and out. Jackie has been taking in these children for nearly a decade, but community work for most of her life. Some have come to her, some children's stories were told to Jackie and she rescued them, many have lost their parents to AIDS. Some of them have been with her many many years, others passing thru in times of need. The whole community knows that if there is need, Sister Jackie's house of love is always open. Twice a year she hosts a camp. One over Christmas time where she has upwards of 60 kids and a summer time camp for some of the most disadvantaged kids from all around the island. Some of them stay with her for the whole summer as it ensures that they have a meal and a safe home. I am floored that she says so easy that 60 kids are coming thru, with so much ease and peace. She is a remarkable woman.
I checked in with Sheila, the woman that originally introduced me to Sister Jackie to see if there was anything we could bring to Sister Jackie's House of Love when we came as a small group from Vancouver to study Yin Yoga. Sheila said one of the big expense in the house was soap, TP, women's product and diapers. This got me thinking about waste as well as when I was last in Jamaica, when I saw such an abundance of trash, and alot of it burned. I was very curious to have the conversation about woman's cycles with Jackie
I checked in with Lunapads because I was very aware of the great work they were doing with girls around the world and I was curious if they had never done a project or made donations in Jamaica. I met up with Madeleine Shaw, one of the co-founders of Lunapads. We had a great conversation about cycles, Pads4Girls and how empowered cycles for young woman mean empowered choices for all women. Lunapads happily shares the patterns for their snap into your pantie cotton pads with various inserts for various flows, adjustable sized panties with a little slide in fabric pads, or a few for heavier flow. Lunapads donated 20 kits for Sister Jackie's house for teen girls and new moms. I was so stoked to share this with the girls and with the
I wasn't sure how Sister Jackie's girls would feel about talking about menstural cycles with me.
I am personally interested our natural moon cycles as sisters of this world and the amount of waste that is created with a disposable period, as well as how unattached to this cycle we are. Somewhere along the way we have lost the connection to our cycles, and have started to see it as a dirty and uncomfortable burden, instead of a wonderous wealth of information and direct link to the moons, oceans and world around this. We may have forgotten that its in fact a deep and spiritual honour I believe to be a woman, to be so deeply connected to Mother Earth.
I checked in with Lunapads because I was very aware of the great work they were doing with girls around the world and I was curious if they had never done a project or made donations in Jamaica. I met up with