Sexual health is often an embarrassing topic of discussion—whether in a high school classroom in the US or in a rural community in Guatemala. A few months ago during our initial women’s health class with this group of women, we were met with silence, blank stares, or muffled giggling when posing questions to the group. Now, however, our proud graduates can speak with confidence about many topics ranging from reproductive anatomy to cervical cancer.
Last week we had a graduation ceremony, celebratory lunch, and review for the course. As a demonstration of what they have learned, the women worked in small groups to prepare short presentations about all of the topics covered over the six classes—with Yoli and me acting as the students. They walked us through the basics of puberty and menopause, demonstrated how to perform a self-breast exam, showed how to correctly use a condom by placing it on a carrot, discussed the importance of cervical cancer screening, and explained the signs and symptoms of sexually transmitted infections.
The women were incredibly impressive—not only because of the amount that they have learned, but also because of the confidence they showed while presenting the information. These women have also told us that they plan to pass this important knowledge on to their children, sharing with the next generation the information that they wish they had known when they were younger.