This is what I came to know out the Female Circumcision which is today called Female Genital Mutilation.I know it is quite barbaric and it might not be easy to believe. The Female General Mutilation (F.G.M.) is a practice that is done among some particular communities in Kenya, majorly the Bantu Community and some others from other minor communities. In the central province where our college is centered, the majority of the people there are Kalenjin and the Kikuyu Community. Traditionally, they practiced Female Genital Mutilation, which they call Clitoridoctomy.
Just like the Male circumcision is now encouraged among all the communities in Kenya, to them it what a rite of passage from one stage of life, Childhood to another, Adulthood. No girl who never practiced it would ever be married. In fact they used to ask, “Who will ever pay cows for such a girl?” In African set up, marriage is complete only if there are cows paid for the bride. After that, one is allowed to do anything for the wife, including wife beating. In fact, traditionally, women who were not beaten by their husbands feel seriously unloved.
When I talk about the FGM, what makes it remarkable is not because the practice itself, but it is how it is done. When I visited an elder in the neighboring community during the time for community service and he explained to me something about the process of F.G.M. This is what he said to me:
During that time, two days before the process, ladies who are candidates go out for a dance, which is carried out in one of the houses of the eldest candidate.In that night, one is allowed to mention anything about love and love making, which otherwise is a taboo during the normal circumstance. A drum is played and the candidates dance in a concentric circle, and i a provocative way, doing all the marvels with their bodies. They swing their hips from left to right and do all things with their private parts. At some point of the dance, one becomes a wonder and find himself/herself in the circle of the dance. During the time you are a wonder, you should exposes your body naked for everyone to see.
On the big d day of all, the candidates are not allowed to sleep in the house. They spend their night along the river bank, not with blankets, not with anything, but just to take their time there. During the dawn, they get right inside the water and they sit in the flowing water. This is meant to numb the skin, and it was the only anesthesia that is used. Numbing the skin would make the operation less painful during the process.
Women old enough would come in the morning with knives and they take the candidates one by one to the river bank. They wipe and clean their genital parts with some liquid, which has a cooling effect They would use their knives, which is made of a piece of iron sheet cut in a particular shape. The woman is supposed to chop off the whole genital part, and the entire external part. They then use locally made thorn like needles to sew up the opening. They do so to a extent that they only leave a small whole that can only permit the passage of urine alone. The hole was meant to be in the size of grain of rice, and the grain of millet was also desirable. If the hole becomes bigger than that, the poor girl has to undergo the same operation the second time, until the desired size is met.
During the child birth, the women were to undergo the same operation. The hole would be cut towards the rectum.After that, they were supposed to be left free now. This was meant, according to the informant to help them keep their vaginity. During the successive childbirth, they would be allowed to go without it.
The women are not allowed to go to the hospital of the modern treatment, since the doctors and nurses could not know that they would be required to cut the hole towards the rectum rather than upwards, and in the required manner.
It happens that we have some ladies here in college who comes from the regions where this thing is still practiced, despite the fact that the government now campaign against. They do it from the back door. In this community, a college mate hinted to me that they would be doing this by next month when the candidates are in their holiday. I think this is one of the areas that should be gifted to enable the communities concerned know the right thing to do.