By Mbatjiua Ngavirue
Women are using supporting rings of Femidom female condoms as bracelets instead of using them for their intended purpose, it has been learnt.
Finding proof of this has proven difficult because often the rings are covered in beadwork, making them unrecognisable to the unsuspecting eye.
It took New Era a trip to Gam, where a San woman was found wearing an uncovered Femidom ring (the orange coloured one top).
During a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social and Community Development tour of the Otjozondjupa Region, people reported numerous problems with the female condom.
Health officials said women have to insert the Femidom roughly eight hours before any sexual encounter for it to adjust to the environment inside the female body.
Should the planned beneficiary of these elaborate preparations fail to show, the by now annoyed female partner is left with no option but to consign the device to the rubbish bin or convert it into a bracelet.
Another common complaint is that the Femidom is noisy – in fact very noisy.
Users complain that during sex it makes a rustling noise, akin to the sound made by a supermarket plastic carrier bag – making for a less than happy and satisfying sexual experience.
At a community meeting in Tsumkwe, one woman also complained that some cunning ‘rascals’ make sure they penetrate between the vaginal wall and the Femidom – not inside it – defeating the entire purpose of the device.
The best anyone can say about the situation is that, at least Namibian women now have access to a new and almost inexhaustible supply of bracelets.
The male condom did not escape criticism either, with some communities complaining that the one-size-fits-all condom concept is impractical.
Nature has not endowed all individuals or communities equally.
The complaint among some individuals that standard condoms are too small is quite common.
Criticism that condoms are too large for some is more unusual, but presumably just as valid.
During community meetings, several people pointed out the seemingly obvious logic that manufacturers should make male condoms in different sizes.
The young woman wearing the Femidom bracelet is part of a poverty-stricken family group living in a single hut, literally surrounded by bush just outside Gam without any visible means of livelihood.
Her 57-year-old mother heads the family, which includes four grandchildren – one of whom belongs to her daughter in the picture.
Her husband passed away, but the Government has only registered one of the four grandchildren as an orphan.
The other three children also qualify for registration but do not have valid birth certificates or identification documents.
The nearest Home Affairs offices are either at Grootfontein or Rundu, which for people in their financial circumstances might as well be somewhere on the planet Mars.