June 24, 2001 - Personal Web Page: Red Bead Days - The Peace Corps went to India to teach the Indian masses about contraception

Peace Corps Online: Directory: India: Peace Corps India: Peace Corps in India: June 24, 2001 - Personal Web Page: Red Bead Days - The Peace Corps went to India to teach the Indian masses about contraception

By Admin1 (admin) on Sunday, February 16, 2003 - 11:20 pm: Edit Post

Red Bead Days - The Peace Corps went to India to teach the Indian masses about contraception

Red Bead Days - The Peace Corps went to India to teach the Indian masses about contraception

Red Bead Days

By Ki Longfellow

Once Upon A Time... before our long and dreary decades of Greed and Chat Rooms and ‘Holy’ Wars, there was one shining moment called The Sixties. Aside from all else the Sixties were - and the Sixties changed World Consciousness forever (or at least until the next Dark Age comes along which might be very dark indeed) - they were hopeful. For a few short years, the Youth of America believed it was possible to heal the world of its ancient woes: hunger, war, ecological disaster, disease, over-population... not only possible, but their true and manifest destiny.

From this innocent hope was born the Peace Corps. Kids flocked to join the Peace Corps, to be sent at government expense to exotic places with strange sounding names, there to bring Peace & Love Beads to all God’s people - however you conceive Her and Them to be.

Which brings me to India. What is the first thing you think of when you think of the Indian continent? Personally, right after India’s extraordinary contribution to human spirituality, I think of numbers. India writhes with masses of people, millions and millions of them, and more by the minute.

The Peace Corps went to India to teach the Indian masses about contraception.

Not being entirely ignorant, and not having unlimited resources, the Peace Corps did not offer to freely provide ‘the pill‘ to every woman in India. What they did do was give them beads. (You knew this was about beads, right?) Someone, somewhere, had a look around and noticed that if there was one thing every Indian woman had, no matter how poor and no matter which sect of which religion she was born into, it was a necklace of beads. And someone, somewhere, realized that the best and cheapest and safest way to prevent conception (short of complete abstinence) was for a woman to know her days of ovulation. In this way, a husband and wife could enjoy safe sex most every day of the month, only going without on those few days when she could conceive. Now here’s where the beads merge with contraception in this story. The Peace Corps set about making necklaces of beads to give to the women of India. Dark beads and light beads, beads of all colors, but strung in a particular and definite pattern. The beads represented the days of a month. The woman was taught that she could make love to her husband on, say, the yellow bead days, but not on the red bead days.

It was simple. All women wore bead necklaces, any women could see which color of bead fell on which day, every woman’s days of ovulation were much fewer in number than her safe days. Surely, wife and husband could control themselves for a few days each month? It ought to have worked beautifully.

It was a disaster.

Once they were given their Peace Corps necklaces, the women restrung the beads. They couldn’t resist. Three yellow beads here? No. No. Much prettier with two yellow beads and a red in the middle. Or - more traditional to have five red in a row. Or. Or.

All over India women were busy restringing their necklaces.

It is now forty years later. The millions of India now verge on the billions. And I’ll bet some of those necklaces still exist, still shine against the skin of grandmothers past their childbearing age. I never joined the Peace Corps. I was never that innocent. Not back then, anyway.

Just for the fun of it I made this "Natural birth control" Necklace. I made it based on a 28-day cycle, putting red beads for the day's auntie Flow visits and gray beads for the sexless days. I told my doctor about the necklace (whose wife and nurse are beaders) he laughed and then said, "you're NOT really going to use it, are you?"

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - India; Special Interests - Beads; Special Interests - Birth Control; Humor



By Cassandra (65-86-syr-ny.dialin.a-315.westelcom.com - on Sunday, October 10, 2004 - 12:08 pm: Edit Post

Hello, I am a 16 year old female. I will graduate from high scholl in 2006. Then i plan on going to a 2 year college because i am not certain as to whgat i want to be. All i know is that since I have been a little girl, i wanted to be in the PC. I am having some difficulty finding information due to my age. I would really appreciate it if someone would become an email pen pal with me, so we can chat about the PC. Thank you for your time, and if you are interested, please email me asap!

Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.