Tag Archives: Health

How do you say “Emergency Contraception” in Wolof? Access to EC Abroad

As those of you who know me personally are aware, I just got back from a semester abroad in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, a former French colony in West Africa.

In the days leading up to my departure in August, I funneled all my excitement and nervous energy into packing. What should I bring? How long to my skirts have to be? How much bug spray do I need?

About to step into what seemed like a totally different world, I had no idea what I would really need, or if I was bringing the right stuff. And in the frenzy of the transition, of course all of the students on my program forgot something pretty important (for me, it was an umbrella, which would have been super useful during the 2 remaining months of the rainy season).

Luckily, there was something that I knew I couldn’t forget: emergency contraception.

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Lets Get Feminist

It was the third week of my weight training class, and I was struggling a bit on bicep curls when the coach came up to me and suggested, “Why don’t you try that with lighter weights so that you don’t build muscle?” I wasn’t sure how to respond other than nodding politely and ignoring him. Why would I even be in a weight training class if I didn’t want to build muscle? Is it really that hard to believe that a woman would want to be strong?

From the very first class, I felt like my weight training coach was giving me mixed messages. On the one hand, he was saying “Women aren’t as strong as men,” and on the other hand he was saying “Women don’t want to be strong.” This frustrated me to no end. Which was it? Was I biologically doomed to weakness and inferiority, or was it that I shouldn’t even try to get stronger in the first place, that I somehow craved weakness? Why was he so convinced of and vocal about my weakness when it was his job to help me get stronger, not to push me down?

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