FGM is a custom in borum community, before now, FGM/C is celebrated in July yearly and it is quite an expensive ceremony/festival, people save a lot to ensure availability of food through out the ceremony. The custom has been in existence for over 80 years. Borum indigenes so much enjoy it, especially the women, men don't partake in the ceremony because it is women's festival. It is only the women who are involved in all the activities that make the festival a huge success. The ceremony always last for at least 14 days, it is an enjoyable custom in Borum community. During the time of circumcision, they normally announce it in the community on the first day. A woman who is supposed to circumcise her daughter must ensure that the daughter is of age (18yrs - above) and there is a fine for those who will circumcise the girls/children that are below 8yrs/10yrs/12yrs. After the announcement of the date for commencement of the festival which lasts for 7days, they will go round the community, from house to house to announce to them that "my circumcision is 7 days and we will dance". On the 5th day, the women, children and girls will be called upon to remove their clothes and tie only wrapper, their body will be designed with camwood drawing some lines all over their body. On the 6th day, she will go to someone's farm using an umbrella and people will be following her including little children and girls. She will help to weed the grass because it is their custom, on her way back, the farm owner will give her some maize and she will eat it when she arrives home. On the 7th day, at about 5am, they will start the circumcision, the practice is done by elderly women in the community, they are very good in female circumcision but not trained. The elderly women will be divided into groups and sent to circumcise the girls. The girls will lay on the bare floor in a hut where only firewood is set. From 5am, there will be an outcry, the entire community will be crying, the girls will be shouting in different locations due to the pains and sometimes the men will go around to see the naked bodies of these young girls but they will be driven away. The reason they come out early to perform the circumcision is to prevent the men from seeing the nude bodies of the girls, some men will even climb trees and roof top to be able to see how the girls will come out naked to lay on the bare floor and be circumcised. After circumcision, cooking commence, they will cook yam mixed with palm oil for the girls to eat, from the day of circumcision, they will be cooking constantly and throwing food in the air for children to struggle, they lavish large quantity of food which last for 3 days. They cook cocoyam, yam, beans, ogbono and egusi soup for people to be eating for 7 days. After 6 days, the wound will be partially or fully healed because they use hot water to clean their private part. On the 7th day, the circumcised girls will come out to dance naked with only leaves covering their private parts and carrying basket on their head. During this ceremony, cameras are prohibited. While the girls are dancing, their parents will join them, the girls will dance for 2 days with beads and camwood designed on their body. After the dance, they will go to the playground and the eldest man in the community will throw them water and tie a bird's feather on their head with a rope, an umbrella will be given to the girls and water will not touch their head. The girls will be going around with a bell on their waist for 7 days ringing uncontrollably, the whole community will begin to hear the sound of the bell because the girls are everywhere. On the last day (14th day), the same eldest man who tied the bell and feather on the girls will be the one to remove it from their body, and they will now wear clothes. As time goes on, people became more enligthened about the harmful health effects of FGM on young girls and women, educating them that the custom is barbaric, some people agreed to end the practice while some disagreed. A time came when one of their sons was to be ordained a Rev. Father and he told the community that if they don't stop the barbaric culture, he will not be ordained. That was how the problem and solution was found, they had no option than to accept to ban FGM/C. For over 12 years they have not been able to fully practice the custom. About 2 yrs ago (2014), some people in the community came up with another idea to modernize the ceremony, what they did was to sew the girls costumes - skirts, shorts, and vests which they wore and carried a basket on their head, their bodies were designed with camwood and they danced once instead of twice. It was very colorful but the girls were not cut. The ceremony will be celebrated again this year. Together to #EndFGM
Research/Written by: Joy Tiku Enighe
Team Leader - Youth Power Initiative
This post was submitted in response to Share Your Story On Any Topic.