Makena stood there watching the flickering lights of Nairobi under the still blue sky with its tinge of orange and yellow emanating from the setting sun. It was a glorious evening and the end of another busy but productive day. It was moments like this when she thought of her sister, Kerubo.
Being here in the mountains reminded her of the second time when she ran away to escape the cutting season. For Maasai families the cutting ceremony was a momentous occasion because it celebrated the transformation of girls into women and marked daughters as eligible brides. However, the thought of being held down by big and strong women and possibly bleeding to death like Kerubo made Makena determined that she would let them cut her. She ran away before the next cutting season and vowed that when she was older, she would return to rescue other girls.
Twenty years later, she went back in her community where she helped many girls avoid the cutting ritual. Her sister’s suffering always before her, she went from village to village, working with elders and girls to institute an alternative rite to passage without the cutting. Many have joined her in this endeavor to end a barbaric practice and the number of cases of female genital cutting was decreasing.
She raised her eyes to the sky now and thanked God who had sustained her all this time. Tomorrow, she was going to visit another village. More girls were going to be rescued from the cut which had taken her beloved sister’s life. She was doing all of this in memory of Kerubo.
“To cut off the sensitive sexual organ of a girl is directly against the honesty of nature, a distortion to her womanhood, and an abuse of her fundamental human right”– Joseph Osuigwe Chidiebere
This story was inspired by the true story of Nice Leng’ete and her older sister who ran away and hid all night in a tree during the first cutting season. Nice was 8 years old at the time. When she was older, she helped 15,000 girls avoid the cutting ritual within seven years. “
Source: The New York Times