Recently while talking to Mariam(not real name) who was delivered of her baby girl a few months ago, she revealed something that surprised me and I was touched. We were simply talking about certain cultural practices that are harmful to the wellbeing of our children. After she had her baby, a discussion between her mother-in-law and some older women took place. There was a plan to circumcise Mariam’s little girl but there was, however, a stumbling block. Mariam’s mother-in-law knew that she was stubborn and wondered what to do about ensuring that the old custom is upheld in the interest of her granddaughter or so it seems. One day this mother-in-law finally presented the matter to Mariam who stood her ground in refusing to have her daughter cut in the vagina. An argument ensued but Mariam prevailed. She points blank told her mother-in-law that she would not allow anyone to cut her little girl! And I must also commend Mariam’s husband here who supported the decision not to allow their daughter to be cut. I mean he could have sanctioned the plan to do this in the name of not wanting to offend his family.
I was surprised that this practice of mutilating girls in their vagina was still been practiced amongst the educated elites.Often we think that some harmful practices that we try to create awareness about with the intention of ending it, is simply a problem common among the uneducated rural. This is not the case many times.
So dear woman,do not sit on the fence thinking that there is nothing you can do about ending any form of abuse or practice that can be harmful to your child. Yes, a lot of times, particularly in our strong African cultural heritage men, decide something’s but this is not to say you should not speak up when it is a matter of what could harm you or your child.
Speaking up and saying NO, is the first step in protecting our girls from child marriage, female genital mutilation and cutting(FGMC) and other forms of harmful practices.
This post was inspired by discussions from a workshop on Advocacy & behavior Change Messages Development to abandonment of FGMC that I am participating in. It is put together by Civil Source Development & Documentation Cenre(CIRDDOC) Nigeria in partnership with UNFPA
This post was inspired by a stirring in my heart. And so I take it seriously and really want to feel the pulse of people. So I need your contributions whether from personal experience or from observing a family member or friend.
Background to this
I was watching a movie last night and the story line centered on four struggling women. It is a story of friendship & support, family and career struggles. These women mirrored the reality of some women. Out of the four women, three of them had relationship issues, in fact one of them became a single mother of two after going through a divorce. The fourth woman in the group seemingly had a happy marriage and a great career. She was the envy of others and also gave hope to many. However all was not well. At the end of the movie she had to walk away from the marriage and build her life afresh.
Where I am going with this story :
I do not intend to waste your time. The issue here was my attitude to these women’s lives. I judged them quickly labeling them with titles I wouldn’t like to list here. This is not right. But to sum up my feeling I thought … “Their bad choices got them to where they were now”. I even felt that these women were bad examples for those of us wanting a well packaged life. I have no right to judge these women who are faced with issues beyond them. And so I am sorry for not extending an arm of love and kindness.
Hmmmn… When things are working for you, remember that you are only enjoying the mercies of God.
And bam! The Lord started to prompt me in my heart. He showed me how even in church we raise our noses at the single parents especially women…Wondering how they got left alone to take care of their children ; wondering whether she was careless and got herself pregnant! Again that judging attitude…
Questions that popped up in my heart were these:
How have I showed sincere love, care and support for the single parents in church and even in my circle? I must say not much or nothing intentional in my opinion.
Do we have programs that cater for the needs of our single parents/moms?I mean there is always programs for the married, youth, ministers etc but not for single parents.
What can we begin to do about reaching out to them? God loves them and has great plans for them.
This is where you help me:
Please share your thoughts on how wecan better support single parents(moms).
This is not a data gathering post or just wanting to publish for publishing sake… I want to begin to do something about supporting single parents in my sphere of influence.
And if you are a single parent… I want you to know that you are not alone. You are strong, brave and doing your best with raising your children… Never forget that. 🌸🌸💝
Come unto me all you that labor and are heavy Laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
When was the last time you had a great family time out…? Well I was scrolling down my camera to get some pictures for a post when I came across these pictures. I and my siblings and our families went to our home town to visit our parent then grandpa decided to take us all on a trip to his farm. At first some of us grumbled and tried to stall the trip. The kids wanted to all go but all the adults’ imagined big sand flies and insect biting them. In the end we tricked our children into not going…how so unfair. But in the end look how much fun we all had!
On our way to harvest some crops but not seriously…lol
Making fun of ourselves as untrained posh farmers from the city
Making fun that Ken who was still courting my kid sister now my brother in-law wore a very unfriendly farm attire
Celebrating my brother in-law who had a terrible accident falling from a scaffolding. so delighted that he was alive to have fun with us
Finally we got some maize plucked into the basket but seriously grandpa helped us out. Victory at last!
When was the last time you had fun as a family? Hey its time to do it again! I love these guys(my family)
So here is the story of Mr and Mrs Still (not real names). They have both been married for awhile and are blessed with children. Mr Still, one day needed some money and the end of the month was still a week away when salaries get paid. So his wife gave him her ATM card to withdraw some money. He blew her a kiss and she smiled satisfied that she was a dependable partner. But alas it was a big mistake. Mr Still refused to return her ATM card, instead he withheld it and withdraws money from his wife’s account at will. In fact as soon as her salary hits her account at the end of the month, he withdraws every penny leaving Mrs Still with nothing to cater for herself. All attempt to get her husband to give her back the ATM card had not been successful. Mr Still claims that he is the head of the home and he had right to control everything about his wife. This has been going on for several months now and Mrs Still is terribly worried and looked tattered. Some of her friends have advised her to take the matter to the bank where her salary is paid to but she refuses to take any action. Her family (parents and siblings) beg her not to do anything that will break her marriage but instead continue to endure until maybe one day, Mr Still will have a change of heart. Mrs Still is at a loss about how to best handle the matter and continues to suffer in silence trying to be a submissive wife while her husband spends both his salary and hers.
This story which is a true life story makes me to wonder how far submission should go in a marriage. Many women suffer in silence. Why do men like Mr Still do this? And why do women like Mrs Still continue to suffer in silence?
A lot of women issues have been addressed and continue to be focal points of discussions, campaigns, and lots more. The idea of this site was inspired by an RNTC training i attended in Uganda just recently with the theme: Women’s Sexual Reproductive Health- Getting the stories right. I have always been passionate about women and girls related issues and i dare to say i do my best to paint pictures of the world of women. Hearing about stories of some women and girls from parts of Africa i have never been to left me with a shock and showed me that i needed to do a little more in getting untold stories out or simply just lending my voice to ones that had been told before. The first story that almost blew the wind out of me was the story of girls in some communities in Uganda who miss school on their menstrual days and eventually drop out of school.
What was even more shocking for me was the fact that these girls had to use chicken feathers, corn husk, and even sit on the sand all in the bid to get something to soak the blood that must flow out during their menstrual period. My shock transformed into a deep sad feeling. I couldn’t believe that some girls had to go through all of that. Images of depressed , infection prone young girls filled my mind. These thoughts went through my mind for a few days and then early one morning i began to process in my mind what needed to be done. I wondered if anyone was doing anything about this. I mean it was unthinkable that a girl gets to drop out of school simply because of her monthly menstruation. Fortunately the training included how to tell stories using multimedia formats on social media. So i decided to begin a blog where i can share stories of women and girls and perhaps through this medium steer up action. And for some people who might read these posts, it will be a window into the world and lives of others. I decided to talk to one of the organizers of the training and out came a gladdening information that a group of people were already doing something for girls who have found themselves in the terrible situation of not having a safe sanitary towel during menstruation. I quickly made my own little donation and hope to have the opportunity to do more but most of all i learned that the little things i take for granted are actually a “big deal” for others to have access to.
So i’ll be sharing stories of women and girls that needs to be heard on this blog, femininematerz. The good, the bad and the ugly stories all in the bid to make sense of it all and just maybe make a little difference.