FGM/C narrative (received Oct 22, 2019) Credit: Weta Pichu – Jacqueline

Posted: March 27, 2023 in Washington, DC

Posted publicly March 27, 2023

Name of receiver(s) upon request, with permission

Transcription info available at the end of narrative

Weta Pichu

Jacqueline Sequence 2

01:00:00Start Tape


I’m 16 years old. I come from Maasai community from Lodoklani. I come from Lodoklani, yeah in [indecipherable]


I was in this school currently. And then last year, I joined AC Girls Secondary School. And then I’m taking my studies there, yeah.


I grew up with my mom and my father. But when it was, I was ten years old, my mother passed away. Now, I, I, continue growing up with my, my, I have two brothers. I have the big brother and the other one and then me. I’m the, the third born in that family. And the day my mom went, the time my mom died, now my brother is taking care of us and my father. 01:01:13 And yeah. And I have also two sisters, yeah.


Now one, now the many challenges are like the circumcision of the [inaudible] and they circumcise girls. Now you see the [inaudible] for the community. Now they have recognized like now they don’t have a mother, now nobody’s taking care of them. Now the, the, the, the elders from the community can come and say because this one has grown up, let us circumcise her and then we give out to the husband. 01:01:50 Now [inaudible] the challenges they face. But to me I decided one day, I woke up in the morning and then uh I was thinking what can I, well now what am I going to do? Now I decided to, to call my sister and then I told her I’m going back, at that time, I was very little because I was eleven years old. Now I say where am I going to go? And then I just, I just woke up, I just wake up, woke up and then I go, I take a step, I ask another woman there. 01:02:25 And then what she told me, even she has not even told me “you are very young and go to school.” No what she also told me “look for [inaudible] as a maid work in, doing the work inside the, the people houses you can do so that you are, sisters can have watch, they will each.” Now our family, they, they started going like they leave us alone. Now we are, we are, we are there like we are sisters now. We are there alone. 01:02:56 Nobody’s looking out for our food to eat. Now we see it is very difficult. 

01:03:02​Q. Just so I don’t get confused, I’m going to repeat some of the things you said and you tell me if I’m right or wrong. When your mother passed away, your brothers and father took care of you. But you were actually taking care of your sisters. Correct? Ok. And then you tried to talking to your dad to see if maybe someone can help you. Ok. And meanwhile the elders in the community tried to apply pressure for you to be circumcised and get married.



01:03:33​Q. What was your father’s response to that pressure?


You know, my father, he has not gone to school. And he’s, the Massais say that the girl child has no any right to, to say no or yes. Now they have to take the opportunity to tell my father that this girl has, she has already grown up. And remember I was eleven years old. Now we can circumcise her and marry her off. Now my father was like “if I refuse, you know they say if I refuse, I’m, I’m going just to get many problems in the family as we, as, as now her mother is not alive, nor things like those. 01:04:22 Now I better sell her to get the cows and satisfy others when they are growing up.


Ok I was, I was circumcised by my, my father’s brother. Now you know there is a celebration, thing like those. Now, he took, he took me to his home and then circumcised me. At that time, when I was circumcised is the one that’s forcing my father to look for someone who can marry me. Now they say, they say they have already get someone to marry me. Now they are, they are important, those cows, they are taking those cows now and so that if I be, if I recover from that sickness, I’ll be, I’ll be married off. 01:05:13 But the, that time, at that time, there is, there is some women which came there when I was circumcised because I was, I was circumcised when I was too young and become very sick. 


Ok is it like this. The women that is, one woman which use the, they use the razorblades to circumcise somebody. Yeah, they use the razorblade. Now what they do, they, what they do, they take, they take us in the morning, in the morning before even it was, it is morning when it is very cold, they take you outside. They pour some cold water for you. 01:06:03 And then they, they call you to go inside again that [inaudible]. Now what they do, they, they cut you. There are three, three women. They cut you and then there is the skin there, the skin from the cows, that skin. And then they, they force you to sit there. If you have sit in there, now that others can cut your hands and yeah back cut, the others cut your legs. 01:06:34 And then they, they call others to come and make a circle to you. And then that woman can use a razorblade to cut you. They don’t mind, believe they can abuse to ourself, maybe was you can be cut even here, they don’t mind. Now they want, they want just to circumcise, want finish that because they are [inaudible] them. Now just like that. 


They say the cold water can make, you know can make your body to be the blood not to, the blood not to, to come, to come out at a high rate of the speed. Now that’s what they are meaning to the cold water.


I screamed when I got circum- I screamed because at that time I saw there is my blood going and I scream, yeah. 


Ok after I was circumcised, now they can take you to that [inaudible] and start giving you those, the, the um, the, the meat from the sheep’s [inaudible]. And at that time, I was, I, after three days, I was really, I was bleeding seriously and bleed even until my body, [inaudible] my head as it was going like this. 01:07:53 I had if I look at you, I’m not seeing you well, and like this. I was bleeding even, I think I have blood for even one basin of blood. I was sick and they are not taking me to hospital. They are just saying she will recover. It is just the normal thing they usually pass through. Now others they come and say maybe the one who was circumcised, she has a problem. You know they have those means. They are problems. Now, now he, now they, they just keep for me there for one week. 01:08:27 And I was sick seriously. And I, I move from the house and then I go outside. And then so I saw my brother. Then I call him, ask him now you are, I was totally sick and I don’t know how, I don’t, I don’t understand. I’m just going there and sit. Then I told them I’m sick. So if you want to rescue my life, please rescue. Yeah.


Ok my brother, he has just, he told me…Ok what he told me is that I’m going to speak with my father, look for the money to take you to hospital. And then the following day, my father came there to that home to, yes to that, his brother’s home. And then I was taken to hospital. And then when I was taken to hospital, it was very difficult because they are telling me not to say that I have been circumcised because they know it is wrong. Yeah.

01:09:31​Q. Did you say it?


Yeah I told the doctor. Yeah I told him that I was circumcised and I bled very seriously and that I think it is my word is now, I don’t know what is wrong with my body. Yeah.


That I have no blood in the body now. And they ask why are they, why they have done that for me. And then they have started to say that is our culture and you know we cannot leave our culture.

01:10:01 ​Jacqueline

Somebody can donate their blood for her. Now my, they say that no I don’t know somebody to donate their blood for me. I told them like that. And then the doctor told me that there is the medicine that you can take for a long time and then you can just recover. Now that the doctor would say they buy those medicine and then they take them after two month that the time I was still that my head now recovered from ring like this. I still like, if I stand, I want to fall down. 


The doctor, the doctor told me what happen, and then I told him now he’s even the doctor say it was very difficult for me to recover from that bleeding. But what he told me, he told me that, he called them and then he started asking them why have you done this for her? Now they say that it’s because of their community because the Massai community show they do this and if you see a girl which has not passed this one, this can, can happen to, like they check like the [inaudible]. Yeah. No the doctor does not follow again. 


That time, the time I was recovering from hospital, I think it is God who spoken to me or I don’t know. 


I called my younger sister. I told her that for me, me I’m going. Now she started crying because she said that if I go, she’ll face more than me. Ok. Now what I told her, I told her that if I go and I get some, somewhere which is comfortable, come and take you. Now she, she told me that “even now, if you are going, please can you take me? Because if I stay here, maybe I’ll be circumcised like you.” 01:11:52 And then I assure her, told her “you are not going to be circumcised. I’ll make sure.” Ok now at that, the next morning, I woke up. I’ve not, I’ve not told anybody and then I told my sister not to tell  anybody. I woke up and then I, I went to the [inaudible], I went to another woman there, is their grandmother. Then I told her “can you pay for me the fare on the bus? There’s somewhere I want to go.” 01:12:25 And her now she started asking me many questions. Then I told her “ok if you are not able, let me just, let me just stay.” Now I told her, I just told her actually briefly that I want to rescue my life. 


Now she told me “what about your sisters?”


I come until [inaudible]. But I did not know the school at the first time. Then I just let from the bus, I stayed there. I saw another woman and then I say I must go to her. And it is like God is speaking to me. Then I say I must go to her. Then I go and ask her the question. Then she told me “huh, you pass all these problems.” I told her, I told her “yes.” And “do you want to learn?” I told her “yes I want to go to school.” 01:13:15 Then she told me “here there is many rescue centres.” Then I told her “can you tell me one?” I was standing near just this school at those posts but I don’t know, I didn’t know. Then she told me “you can go here now.” She pointed at this, this route. 


Ok so when I’m going like this, I saw Madam. Now I go to her. I did not know if he’s a teacher here or she’s a parent. I did not know anything. Then I go to her. Then she started asking me question. She asked me questions. Then what, what I told her that, I told her all the problem, I not hide anything to her. I told her just briefly what I’m telling you. Then I told them what, what, what, what has gone on. 01:14:03 I tell her and then she ask me “do you have sisters?” I say “yes I have sisters.” 


We, what I have passed through the circumcision, I told her everything and then I told her that I have these sisters who are there. They are, maybe if I’m going to stay there here alone, they can be circumcised also and married, married them off. Now can, can you assist me in both ways? Maybe you can assist me in give me this school and you can assist my sisters also. 01:14:35 Now looking, she was, she was, she was looking at me like this and she can’t believe that I have passed all those things. She was asking me many question. And I was, we were talking with her like just my mom. I told her everything. I told her that I have two brother. I told her all, all my family. I told her that my mom passed away because of this problem and this one. And this is what we have passed through before I come here. 


Next years, she allowed me to stay here in school. 


And then I opened my heart and tell her that I, I, I’ll not be free until I see my sisters here. Now Madam told me “don’t worry. You are, we are, we are going to take your sisters.” Now I was, I was like this day will not come that my sisters are going to come here and feel free like me. Now each and every time, it’s, every week I just go and [inaudible]. Now she was telling me “don’t worry. There’s something I’m arranging and then I can go and take your sisters.” 01:15:45 Now that she, she was maybe she was looking like she’s, she wanted to see that if I can [inaudible] become another person and leave those stress of remember what is happening at home. Now one day Mrs. Loki just said “[inaudible], we are going to take your sisters here.” And at that time, I was very happy. 


Now at that time we were, we I was, I was going home at that time. You know, if they go home now, they have no problem, they will not have grown now and I can, I know how to reason and how to do these things and this when the bad things and that and things. Now at that time, I did not, I went uh myself alone. Then I went there. I was think like maybe something can happen to me. But I did not bother about it because I know now all the routes of coming here and doing this and this. 01:16:42 Now I was Madam told me, you just, she waited for me somewhere and see what if these people can abuse me. She was, she was waiting. But I was just with her. Now I, I go there and my sister was very, she was very happy because she was seeing that maybe I can, next, because I am growing, maybe I am going to be circumcised and they see what I have passed is very difficult for them even to pass through. 01:17:11 Now I go there. She’s very happy. And then I start telling them. But I not tell my brothers or my, or my father. I told only my sisters that “tomorrow I’m going with you.” “Where?” “Don’t worry, we’re just going, we are going and you are going to do, to get your education.” Ok now they are happy. Then they can see that they will not reach it. It is very, it is a very long day. I stayed there and then I stayed there. 01:17:42 Madam was just, she was, she was calling me and texting me “what have you done? Have you already come from there?” I was, I was just, we were communicating with her. Now what, what, now my sister was very happy to see that. Now that [inaudible], I told them not to carry anything. You just was go. Let’s go. We come. 


I was talking, I was talking with my dad one evening, that evening. And I told her, I told him that tomorrow I want to go and look after cows and because I don’t know, because I have stayed in Kajaro for a long time. I want to go with my sisters and have fun with them there outside. Now he was happy because he has seen that I have gone, I have gone, I have come to school and I have changed a bit now like that. Now and now he was, he was asking me that “when you go, the cows, the three of you?” 01:18:39 And I told him, I told him “yes we want to go three of us.” Yeah. 


At that time, you know I told them that we go there because there is a rescue centre and they have, I started editing for them the story that is a rescue centre that I have get. And the Madam is waiting for us somewhere and that she’s like our mom. She have done this to me and this to me. And I’m, I’m school now. I have, I have get education and that’s why I have come take you. And that’s, that’s enabled me to rescue them from being circumcised. 


Because the people in our community now, they have lot more and also they have this school benefited more because if I go there back to the community, I take, I get the girls and teach them what is bad about circumcision and what and what. And now my sisters are very clever. They cannot stay there to be circumcised. 


Now what, what we have, what we have decided and talked to them, if they had something like [inaudible] or try to be circumcised, they run away from there. And they know here, they know this home and they know where to pass through because they are big girls now. They are very [inaudible] they are now, they can, they can run away from that. And, and now, and in our community now, the chiefs are, the chief are going that around and look if you be caught circumcising a girl or married a girl off to who is, who is she’s in school, you will be jailed for it. 


Ok, now when I go, the time we went home, that day we went home all of us at the same time. They were very happy and they can see hey and what has gone on, have happened to you? Now I go one day, when I go home, I’m going to read the story to them, the story about the school to them. And I told them “if you try one day to circumcise my sister, watch I’ll jail you. So if you want us to stay with you with peace and forgive you for what you have done for me because I have, my life was really been affected, want me to forgive you, don’t do this to my sisters.” 01:21:00 And that, that make my father even to cry when I was talking to him. I was talking to him like I’m feeling that thing inside my heart. I was telling him if I have died, what, what could happen to this [inaudible]. And what I have, I have experience in my life and I don’t want my sister to experience that. Now we are here back to our home. Now we have forgiven you for what you have done to, to me because I’m the one who was affected most. 01:21:32 Now I have forgiven you. You are my dad and I know you are my dad. I know you are following the community but for now I am not going to, because I know maybe you, you did not, maybe you were forced to do this for me and you say it is your community, but now I’m going against the community. Now what, what, what you have done for me just don’t do to my sisters because it will affect them. I’m going to jail you for what you have done for me. But for now, I have forgiven you. 01:22:01 Now he become very happy and love us back home. 

01:22:06​Q. You are a very strong girl. I feel very inspired by you. [thanks her and tells her she’s a leader]


Yeah I did so. I did so. 

01:22:48​Q. It’s very inspiring for me. 


The counselling I was getting here and I was getting it, I’m still getting it. I’m still going through. It has really changed my life and make me a better person. Because if it was not that counselling, I could not say what, what had happened my life and start remembering, imagining what happened. Like now I’m talking to you that it is very painful. But if I get the counselling that this and this has happened to you, if the circumcision has happened to you, do not worry because there this and this and you do not know. 01:23:33 And now, the counselling is really helping me and my education so that it cannot affect my mind. Now the, the, the people who are coming to counselling, they counsel us and they tell us that you are not the only one who experienced this life. You can get somebody else who have more than you. And if you have experienced in this life and this one, there is still another step to take and don’t say that my life is, my life is now the end of my life is this one. 01:24:00 You can take a step and, and, and forget what happened at the past and continue with your life. 


Ok the workshop, the workshop has really helped me because I was admiring from, and in my life, I was admiring being a camera, a camera, to take cameras. In fact, it is very fun. You take it and it is very enjoyable. Now I was, I did not know the function of the pictures maybe, the function of the this one. How can I put the batteries in the camera? How can I make the camera to be on and off? I did not know those one. 01:24:35 But from [inaudible] said this, this, this workshop, it has really helped me because now I know how to use the camera. I know how to, to take the pictures. I know how to design to put the colour that I needed to put. Now this one has really helped me. The workshop has really helped me. 


Cameras. Now I can, I can, I can use the cameras and pictures. Like now after my, my former, or when I come back to school, it is like I take the camera and check the pic-, maybe somebody want me to take her picture or they want, when they go there outside, somebody want to take a picture, and those pictures really they can, those pictures make me happy, even you can [inaudible] them because you become a camera woman, you can get money from those pictures. You can make money, yeah. 


That is the most, I did the most thing I want to do. I wanted to take to be a camera woman. I want to be like a designer. I want things like those. 


I wanted to do that. I had it in my mind but it has not really come out. But the time you, you came here, I said that oh it is, it is something which is very good and to do this and this, I can benefit from this. Now the time you came here, that’s the time I was really see that this career I’m going to perform it and I can make it, yes.


Ok, what I can tell the world, [inaudible] tell the girls who are, who have experienced this or who have, who are still going under this one, what I can tell them is that you, you have, if you have already passed this, please don’t say that I have no any step to take. Because even me, I have passed that and now, now I’m a changed person. Even nobody can see that I have passed all those problems. Even you, maybe you have not know what I have passed through. 01:26:36 But if somebody, if you take yourself and know that this has passed and I have started a new life and take a step, now you can be a good person and you can change even entire community and others at home. And what I can tell the world that all, what I can tell those who can rescue us, or assist us in this who have been affected, please you can come up and assist us. And also, you can contribute on our education because that’s many have done so that for us and we want to thank them for what they have done to us. 01:27:14 And want to thank the, the camera [inaudible] that they have come here and teach us the about the cameras. Also I was very happy in this holiday, yes.


What I can ask is that if you are the one who have passed that experience that I have passed, what could you have done to maybe to somebody like your father or your mother? Yeah. 

01:27:44​Q. What would I have done in your position?


Yes. Like now you are done pass all that. 

01:27:49​Q. Wow, that is such a big question. I think that um I would hope that I would have done exactly what you did. I don’t have sisters, I have two older brothers. But if I had little sisters, I would hope that I would have made the smartest decision, not just emotionally I would have wanted to stay home with my sisters. But the smartest thing to do was to leave and help myself so then I can help my sisters. 01:28:28 So I would just hope that I would have made a choice like you.


Will you be ready to forgive your parents [inaudible]?

01:28:40​Q. Yes. Yeah I believe in forgiveness. I do. And I think when you forgive people, it releases, it releases. So I think it takes away the burden that you carry. You don’t have to be angry and bitter all the time. You know, it’s like it doesn’t mean that what they did was right. It just means that you’re ready to let go. And I believe that when you do that, it opens doors for you to move on even further. So yes, I think I would have. 


Ok thank you.

01:29:15​Q. It wouldn’t have been easy but I would have tried my very best to forgive, and I think I would have.


Ok I make that decision forgive my parents as I know that even God say if you forgive, even you’ll be forgiven. And that is why I [inaudible] because I came in, I become a, I become a Christian here and I’m the best singer and they say that oh I can forgive my parents because what I sing, it is also I can, I can make it and forgive them. 01:29:51 Now in my heart, I have nothing, I have no burden that they have done for me this, I’m not going to help them. Maybe if I get a job, I’m not going to contribute this for them. No, I have just forgive them and to continue with them as my parents. 

01:30:08​[taking photographs]

01:30:34​End Tape


Transcription by Scriptastic – Jennifer Z.

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