"My brother was getting married and where I live it is part of our culture to give dowry to the family of your "wife-to-be".
He had nothing to give them so I became the "dowry"
I was only 7 years old"
"I have six siblings and my mother is a widow. I was only 5 when my family made the decision to circumcise (FGM) me and had already paid the dowry
to by husband-to-be."
"My father passed away and my mother re-married. She no longer wanted me so left me with my grandmother.
My grandmother had nothing - so marriage was the only option. I was 8 years old."
"I was 8 years old when I was circumcised (FGM) and then married to a man in his 60's.
At night he would try to have intercourse with me, but I was too small so he would use a stick to try to make me bigger.
When I could I would run away so he would tie me to trees and posts at night if he was not around so I could not leave."
"I was to be married off to a 58 year old man in Tanzania. On the day of my wedding I started screaming and a passer-by picked put me on their motorbike and took me to safety then contacted the chief.
I feel rejected by my father, mother and older brothers for accepting the 58 year old man to marry me.
Because of the Olmalaika Home I am now getting my education in September 2015."
"When I came to the Olmalaika Home a few years ago, I was being married to a 32 year old man - the police showed up and interrupted the ceremony, arrested her father and took me to the children’s office in Narok.
The officer contacted Mum Kim at the home and now I am going to school."
"I am an orphan.
My father passed away when I was quite young and my mother died several years ago.
As was our custom they laid my mother out for wild animals to eat, but after three days and no wild animals came, so they hired two men to dig a very shallow grave where they put her.
My grandmother struggled to take care of me, so I came to live at
THE OLMALAIKA HOME."
I was raised in Kenya - and when I was around 7 years old
we were walking in the hills around Kilgoris.
We came upon a boma (a group of Maasai homes) where
a "celebration" was going on. They ladies took my hand
and lead me into the center of the activities. I was
separated from my family for almost an hour and when
they brought me back, they had painted my face like all
the other young girls
We had unknowingly had stepped into the "celebration" of a circumcision (female genital mutilation - FGM). My life has now come full circle- kim
On Thursday the Children's Office vehicle pulled up once again - inside was a 15 year old young girl. She greeted me shyly and I asked her to sit on the veranda in the big white chairs while the officers and I visited in the office. I invited them to have a seat and they handed me two papers - one from the court, placing her in our home for the next 3 months and another one from their office with the "findings". They shared what they were aware of and I listened - inserting my thoughts here and there. When we were finished they looked in on little Lizzie who was fast asleep in her crib, and then took a tour of the home and garden area - they enjoyed some fresh passion fruit, spoke with a few of the girls who were out polishing their school shoes and then they headed out.
We will call her "Hannah".....
I invited Hannah into my office - she shared a little about herself, and we shared about the home.
She was given some clean clothes and toiletries and she headed to her room to put things away.
In the morning I invited her back into the office to see if I could dig a little deeper into her history.
This is the story that 15 year old Hannah shared.....
When she was 13 years old she had been circumcised with several other girls. Many were younger then her - and NONE of them wanted to be circumcised (cut). She shared how all the girls had slept together the night before and then as the sun rose they were taken one by one into a manyatta. Her hands and arms tied behind her back and then the rope was tied to her legs. She was placed on a matt and held down as an old mama with a razor blade slowly cut her clitoris off. We have a model in the office of the vaginal area and we showed it to her so she could demonstrate. She showed us how the cut was not straight - but instead curved from the top downwards - cutting more than just the clitoris off. She was told to keep her legs together and then walked to another manyatta.
The pain was overwhelming and even more intense when she urinated.
It took about a month before she felt she was completely healed.
A year went by, she finished class 7 (14 yrs old) and one day while in the market she met a University Student - they took a liking to each other. She was pregnant when she sat for her Class 8 final exams. After finishing her exams she moved in with the University student who was 21 years old.
She had no money to go to school so willing herded the cows and goats for his family.
On August 17, 2021 - she was out with the cows when she suddenly felt a lot of pain. She went to her "boyfriends" mother and told her, they took her to a clinic and the clinician told them she was in labor and needed to be taken to hospital. The family refused and Hannah called her Auntie who took her to another clinic. The "boyfriend's" family and her Auntie stayed in the reception area while Hannah gave birth - the staff showed her the baby and told her he was not alive. She did not get to hold him - and they left the room with the baby. Hours later she was sent home.
I asked her what happened to the baby? She said - I don't know they didn't tell me - I was just taken back to my "boyfriends" home. I never saw the baby again and dont know what they did with him.
Three weeks later the police banged on the door in the night and when I opened it they put handcuffs on my "boyfriend" and put him and myself in the back of the police vehicle. We were taken to prison.
I asked her if she was alone in the prison cell and she shared that there was another girl
there who was 13 years old and had told her she had been there for 2 weeks
for the same reason - being under age with an adult male.
I asked her if she hurt inside her heart - did she feel sad? Did she feel like crying at times?
Or was she content and ok. Her answer came back quickly - "I am not ok"
There are lots of questions and thoughts that are going thru my head -
She's here for just three months - maybe less, as they wait for the court date
with her mother and the "boyfriend"
Truth and lies are often sewn together - but what would be the reason to lie to us?
How can we help her find the healing she needs both physically and emotionally so that when she leaves us she will be strong enough and equipped to make better decisions for herself?
She is a reminder to all that so many wounds are not visible to the human eye.
The Olmalaika Trust's purpose is to give hope and inspire healing.
You can also be a part of "Hannah's" healing as well as other little girls emotional welling being by giving online to "The Olmalaika Trust Mental Health Fund"
It enables girls to get counselling via a wonderful lady Psychologist while in our care.
You can also write a check to Global Village Ministries and drop it in the mail to:
8712 N Ridge Ave Berrien Springs MI 49103 OR via Mpesa +254 713010092
Thank you for helping hidden wounds to heal....