Using clay to explore menstruation in Nepal

Photos courtesy of Sara Parker and teams working on the ‘Dignity Without Danger’ research project in Nepal.

‘Mero sano naani’ (My little girl)

‘Mero sano naani’: Bhaktapur 1988

I first met ‘mero sano naani’ (my little girl) in the city of Bhaktapur, Nepal, in 1988 during a walk around the ancient temples and squares. During my PhD fieldwork in Nepal, I learned who she was. However, I am yet to find her. For me, this little girl has become a metaphor for the suffering of women and girls in Nepal. Bhaktapur is famous for its crafts including pottery, weaving, thanka painting and masks and is popular for mask dances that reflect the lives of different Gods and deities. It is also ‘the city of clay’. This, too, is symbolic given the role clay played in my PhD research. It can only be described as synchronistic that I and Sabrina, my PhD research assistant, returned to Bhaktapur to ‘pilot’ the clay research method. ‘Mero sano naani’ was with me in the city of clay on this day. I also returned to Bhaktapur’s famous ‘pottery square’ and temples to relive the experience of this past moment. I also experienced a unique mask dance for the first time. The full story of ‘mero sano naani’ can be found here.