FGM... Agonies of Agatha (1)

He said it was a necessary journey…that they needed to circumcise her early enough.

FGM... Agonies of Agatha (1)

This is a two-part story, you can read the concluding part here

Today has not been a good day… but it could have been if I had stayed home. I had gone to visit Mama Augusta earlier… It’s been weeks I have visited since the birth of her daughter, Agatha…But she was not home.
Papa Augusta said she has taken Agatha to the village yesterday. I wondered if it was not a little too early to travel with a newborn and I asked him same. He said it was a necessary journey…that they needed to circumcise her early enough.

I was shocked… I had thought circumcision was long dead and even if it wasn’t, the last place I expected to find it was in the township….among my neighbours. I hid my shock…or tried to and bade Papa Augusta farewell with a promise to visit again.

Mama Augusta was the first smiling face that welcomed me to the township years ago. She and her family had been living in the compound for 18 years…the Chief tenant, she informed me with a smile.
Although I admire her kind spirit, I often wondered how she managed to have so many children and especially how they all survived in the one room they called home. But ‘a child is a gift’, Mama always says, so I chose to believe that Mama Augusta loves such gifts… And it is her life… she only can decide how she lives it.

You see, the newborn, Agatha is the family’s 9th child, and although I couldn’t understand how she intends to care for her in the face of abject poverty, when she gave birth to her 2 months ago, I visited, and congratulated them on the arrival of the child.
And like always, the moment I entered their home, I immediately felt pity for the newborn… For me, she is a gift that could have been given to another.

So the news today worried me…making an otherwise good day a gloomy one. It’s now dusk, yet I’ve been unable to stop thinking about the little Agatha and the pain she must be going through. I wondered if Mama Augusta knows that only her boys really need to be circumcised and that her daughters were born with nothing that needs to be removed. I wondered if she knew that circumcising her daughter only makes life more difficult for her…more painful…and perhaps less enjoyable.

I wondered what her reasons were for choosing to put little Agatha through something so unnecessary. I tried not to judge her… after all, Agatha is her child…but I couldn’t get past this decision she made… for it is one that may cost her little girl a lot of pain…now and till her dying days.

I knew for a fact that in order for me to understand the choice she made for the little baby, I need to speak to her… just maybe there’s something I’m yet to find out about circumcising daughters… something that will justify why what I thought belonged to the stone age still resides among us.
So, I went to sleep…with a mind full of questions only Mama Augusta can answer.

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