The Cut - Female Genital Mutilation
(Written by Linda May Kallestein)
I was just about to witness a young girl have her genitals cut off at the hand of her mother. Intentionally. With a razor blade. The government official, who should have prevented it from happening, smiled his semi-toothless smile at me, from outside theboma. The chief respected the traditional law of no men allowed inside the ring of mud huts during the ceremony. He had no respect for the crime against Kenyan law that was about to take place. Nor of the gross violation of basic human rights. Of the violent act against a helpless child. The razor blade reflected the rays of the rising sun. All around were smiles and hushed laughter. Expectations. The main focus for most of the people standing in and around theboma was to get it over with. Not out of sympathy for 15 year old Mary who stood shivering as the sun made its way above the horizon. They simply couldn't wait for it to be party time. And my role in all of this? I was the guest of honor.
I had read all I could come over related to female genital mutilation and I was on my second trip to Kenya to find out more about the 5000 year old tradition. Somewhere along the way, I gained the trust of a community of Maasai, living life as they had done for generations, at the foot of Kilimanjaro. Human rights activist and photographer Justo Casal opened the doors for me and we had visited several times over the course of some months. I had even brought along my 10 and 15 year old sons. Bonds of friendship were tied. As a result, we were welcomed as family. The Maasai community opened their homes, inviting us to sleep with them around the fires in their huts made of mud and cow dung.
Please respond to this UK Government short survey on maternal and newborn health. They ask if the UK should be concentrating on ending FGM/C. This is incredibly heartening and shows that people are beginning to take notice - but needs our voice to show we all care! It only takes 7 minutes: http://orchidproject.org/dfi...d-consultation-on-maternal-health-pleasefrom the survey web page...
'We particularly want to hear what people in the UK and around the world have to say on the subject of reproductive, maternal and newborn health. We want to know more about your views, opinions and experiences. This will help us to understand different viewpoints, how these issues might vary in different countries, and how DFID could work better with partners.
The consultation will last for 12 weeks and will close on 20 October 2010'