My husband and I sent the kids away to summer camp and planned a vacation to Cuba for just the two of us. We did some research before booking our trip, and learned that Cuba is in dire need of very basic supplies. Individuals I worked with, who had recently visited Cuba, urged me to bring menstrual products, and anything else I could possibly smuggle in. And I don't use the word smuggle lightly! Cuban authorities do not take kindly to outsiders bringing anything into the country. Fines and being heavily taxed is a very real risk, especially when bringing in new merchandise that looks like it could be resold.
With so many people urging us to bring supplies, we really felt a responsibility to help in any way we could. It was important to us that we brought items that would last and not cause more damage to their waste systems. We collected a good variety of items; backpacks of school supplies donated by my daughter, as well as supplies from the local elementary school. I placed an ad on Craigslist asking for cloth diapers and received several new and gently used diapers. We later learned that many locals will use a disposable diaper 2-4 times, depending how many times they could wash them out, and were glad to have these donated diapers on hand. Finally, we brought a variety of Lunapads to distribute.
We stayed in Cayo Coco, an area of resorts that does not actually have a local population - all staff are brought in by bus daily. I gave pads to women who worked at the water sports center and gift shop there. Those with these positions work an average of 9 hours per day with 4-5 hours travel time. If they are placed in the bar they work 16 hour days, plus travel time. We gave pads in various combinations to the dancers working here. The really great thing about supplying the dancers with kits is that they are probably some of the only people who have access and the know how to material and a sewing machine, since they make and design their own costumes. I had suggested that the dancers make more liners with similar materials, or, if they wanted, that they could give a friend or sister a maxi pad and make them liners. I gave the last kit to the entertainment announcer who spoke 3 or 4 languages and acted as my translator while I did a presentation backstage for her and the dancers.
One of the women from the gift shop found herself away from home unexpectedly and started her period without supplies, except for the gift bag I had just given her. She got to try out her Lunapads that evening and later in the week expressed how wonderful she found them. Another dancer was already on her period and quickly rushed to the washroom to try her Lunapads. Everyone who received pads were very pleased and impressed.
Once again, I would like to thank Lunapads so much for entrusting me with their wonderful donations for Cuba. Local Cuban’s, myself, friends, family and fellow travelers all acknowledged the trust that Lunapads had given me. Because of this amazing display of the honor system, all whom I encountered at home and in Cuba gained a great appreciation and respect for Lunapads for their generosity. These donations have touched many lives in many different ways and your company's support had everyone amazed!
Thanks so much, Lunapads! It was a pleasure and truly amazing experience.