In The Name Of Circumcision

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It was like no other Saturday morning in Jacaranda Farm and nearly everyone was in a superbly well-wishing mood, having put aside their slights and rivalries.

The whole village trickled down to Tigithi River at the crack of dawn for "circumcision" --- sorry, clitoridectomy (FGM) --- of some three girls who were expected to present themselvesĀ  to a female circumciser with the obvious outward composure though more often than not they would be seen to harbour that detectable inward trepidation.

Somewhere deep down my heart, something kept telling me that this thing was both hypocritical and primitive much as it was inhuman. It was, therefore, not for the faint hearted like me.

Nevertheless, backward as it might have appeared, in the eyes of the villagers it meant a lot for those three girls. It was a sure meal ticket for their entry into the hitherto adult world which circumvented on the pleasures of sex and drinking. Full stop!

For the better part of the night, Gachuru had walked for mile upon mile to make it to our village. Wearing a dress of indeterminate colour and tyre sandals, she was the first to enter into the river so that she could wait for those girls right in the middle of the fast flowing water and sit them there.

Her eyes, dark and of a penetrating, almost uncanny sharpness, moved about and she sucked her small mouth from which radiated little hard wrinkles like the rays of the sun in a doodled child's drawing.

Her scary fingernails were long, black talons that were curved at their tips. In a business-like manner, she held a brilliantly shining razor between her right hand thumb and the index finger.

My gaze moved slowly to her and I gave a slight gasp. I felt the blood rush from my face and into my suddenly thumping heart. I was in great fear but I was not alone. Couldn't this woman spare a single instant of her thought for these girls?

One of the three girls seemed to have had a similar feeling with me and she, therefore, looked visibly scared. Once or twice, she attempted to free herself out of the grasp of some two women only to be netted and led, sobbing loudly inside the cold water to numb. Her futile endeavour was zero.

River Bank

And as though to confirm this, each of these girls was picked up from the river avidly and whisked onto the river bank in turns where Gachuru had them sit with their legs as far apart as those of a woman in the last stages of labour.

This then was the opportune moment for the women, some with kids on their backs to squeeze past the men and form an impenetrable and tight circle around the circumciser and those girls to obliterate the men. The children, with their cat-like curiosity, maneuvered their ways between the grown-ups wanting to catch sight of the same but met the same fate as men.

Just before she carried out the operation, Gachuru dug out a miniature gourd covered with a small stick for a lid from her dress pocket, tapped some snuff onto her palm and then pinched it between the thumb and forefinger and then inhaled it with that great composure so that when she let out a sneeze, you noted the weeping of her eyes.

She then wiped her nose with the heel of her right hand palm, dabbing the brown mucus across her upper lip and within a matter of minutes she operated on the three girls who now stood straight, streams of fresh blood flowing down along their thighs.

Crowd Dancing

Almost simultaneously, ululation upon ululation rented the cold morning air and in this carnival mood, the girls were escorted to their different homes where they were to be primed and preened until they had healed.

Along the way home, both men and women danced to circumcision songs that were laced with the most vulgar words ever heard so that the children wondered why this was so. While many among the women tried to tambourine with their bodies, it was Wanjiru the soloist who undid all.

Discreetly oscillating her hips, she wrestled them into a sort of rhythmic motion, twisting her legs into erotic poses and to match her was Bosco who kept clenching the muscles in his jaw as he chewed a wad of khat in his mouth whereby a green juice showed at the corners of his mouth.

With his toes peeping through the front of his shoes and with a pair of trousers that had many patches some of which were also patched up with looping stitches so that they formed an artistic applique, he confidently stepped forth towards Wanjiru holding a gigantic maize cob at his trousers' fly and with it he gored the front of her dress so to speak with decidedly erotic and rapid jerking motions.

But just before this celebratory mood came to an end, I took to my heels lest someone may think otherwise.

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