Monday, June 05, 2006

Maa Weekend

I have been meaning to write this post for a whole month now.

Someone here trying to learn how to do a Maasai dance.

On the Labour Day weekend, we set out to Kajiado for a self discovery weekend with the AIC Kajiado Girls at the Centre. For those who don’t know it this was started by Priscilla Nangurai the director of the centre for rescued Maasai Girls.

While the trip was to mentor the young girls initially, I have to accept at the end of the day I was the more educated one. I saw courage, I saw determination, I saw girls determined to to live on despite the cultural challenges. I saw what it means to be less privileged. God I learnt lots.

This is the story of their lives

The Maasai woman is as beautiful as they come. Her life is normal until she is 9,10,11,12,13.

She is now ready to be marriedoff now to a man thrice her age!!! . And whence she must undergo the most painful operations that cannot even be labelled FGM. I think I can only call it Vagina Elimination.

Why can’t they wait until 18 at least!!!!! Gosh these are babies who need love and care.. Not women to be married off.

So these girls at the centre have been lucky at least that they must be grateful. They are rescued by either the chiefs or maybe one of their parents. They then stay at the centre for the whole of their lives until they can fend off for themselves. One girl actually told me she cannot remember where her home was as she had been there from standard two. She now has other brothers and sister who she has never set her eyes on. Her sisters are those at the centre!!!

But I wonder

Why would your parents be your own worst enemies?

Why would your parents insist on taking you through some practices which you don’t want?

How would you feel that your home is not your comfort but the source of your lost hopes?

Why cant they just be normal children with normal dreams.

Its 43 years since Kenya attained independence and freedom. Why should you not allow someone the freedom to choose?

Why do our governments close their eyes to this kind of practices and cultural oppression.

Give the Maasai girl a chance to live and learn like other children.

Of course Kajiado is one of the most beautiful places to visit. The area is still green and not rid of the flora and fauna


I have just discovered that one of my favourite bloggers Anonymous Lawyer has published a book. I have not seen the book but i am laughing at the thought. More details at anonymous

Those who claim to love me all over blogsphere and you know my birthday passed. Si you hook a sister up with the book. You can read it first then post it you know.

Obvious Targets: Those visiting Kenya in the next six months whoever is the first he he he.
Its obviously not in Text Book Centre. Its not that lawyers are mean like this guy. Actually most are. The New York times did it for him too here
Who says blogging is a waste of time?


  1. This is one of those things that I have a very difficult time understanding culture or no culture. Vaginal elimination indeed.
    When are these girls ever children? Married at the age of 9 do they even have an idea of what marriage involves.

    So now you can wiggle it the maa way?

  2. Very true when will some people do away with unneccessary culture which doesnt build but poromosha the best values.
    Why deny a child the right to enjoy sleeping alone and growing up smiling rather subject them to commands at 9 and some bedminton?

    I can see someone in the pic..

  3. i watched a 'documentary' of that centre on tv sometimes back. quite touching especially on the challenges of rescuing those girls from their elderly suitors and threatening fathers. Nangurai definitely deserves those national golden spear awards.

    but i think the challenge is much more than what is currently being addressed by such centres. many more are still imprisoned culturally where the centre scouts cannot reach plus the problem of resources and the fact that those girls become outcasts with their kinsmen. maybe the whole community should be targeted for a 'civilisation update exercise'. more learning institutions and culutural dialogues with the elders in a bid to win them to spearhead elimination of such fgm practices, early marriages, wife sharing (the danger of hiv is looming in maasailand coz of this practice) and low school enrolment for the girl child. the moran culture should also be changed as it fuels most of the other cultural practices. in such an exercise, kenya must also be ready to forego the earnings from maasai cultural tourism.

    nice post...thought provoking too.

  4. @Prousette, only the young girls understand the shocking culture and how it ruins their lives. We can't.
    That dance was very nice..i loved it.

    @Naks..Ati you can see who? It wasn't me. On the cultural practices there is so much to be done you know.

    @JP, today enyewe you are a good jamaa.
    I would have wanted to watch the documentary too. Nangurai has sacrificed her life to rescuing women. Others are still imprisoned by their cultures.
    They share their wives and yeah i have heard of the AIDs pandemic.

  5. Nice post!A great man said that you must keep what is useful and discard what is useless.It is obvious that early marriage and fgm is doing the Maasai community no good at all levels.These girls should be allowed to pursue their hopes and dreams not be made showcases of how detrimental African tradition can be.Good on the chiefs and the activists who are fighting this trend!
    So I guess now you have a new dance move for the clubs?

  6. What a woman, wish i had come along withyo u was just bumming around woulda gotten in aco's word some moves for the club you know.
    would like to visit the joint will hola at you!

  7. Sad as it is...unfortunately such cultural practices will remain with us for sometime. You should ask me as such negated cultural practices like FGM, early child marriages etc are still common among North Rift communities. Me thinks, that aside exposure of communities to 'modern schooling' and 'benefits of modernization', there should be education geared towards the ill side effects of FGM to the concerned communities. For the communities that I do know of, premium is placed on circumcised women, who supposedly are more authoritative on issues of community well being there are in. Ask Linah Kilimo, she will tell you the same. But all the same, its a fight that the government cannot win on its own, even with legislative framework, rather the community itself to get rid of such 'backward and primitive' African practices.

  8. @Acolyte, thanks.Actually it is easy to see how much suffering these children undergo. Wiggling i say is my new dance style he he he
    @Gish, yeah Nangurai is a remarkable woman. Ok you can holla then we can see how you can be involved.
    @george k, Amen!!!

  9. As the Bible says, "My people perish for lack of knowledge."

    I don't think it's so much a question of being stubborn as it is a fear of discarding highly respected cultural values for what would inevitably cost the parents of the girl child more.

    Unfortunately, more education must be done ... until they fully understand why it is necessary to discard such parts of their culture.

    Take the girl's father, for example. I'm almost sure he has never heard his wife complain of the excruciating pain that accompanies FGM - because the woman has to be strong. He also has never heard her speak about how she would have loved to complete her education - because she must be submissive.

    Of course, then, he would not fully understand what he is putting his daughter through. He may have hated education - so he might think he's doing her a favour by marrying her off early.

    What are we doing as the youth? Are we ready to put our money where our mouths are?