A FREE BODY COMES FROM A FREE MIND!
It is so beautiful to lie down on the wet grass on your back and look up at the blue skies over my village.This has been my favourite game since I started noticing my surroundings.it gives me the feeling of lying on top of the world and being very close to god....if i extend my arms im sure they will touch the huge deeply blue heaven above.....(do you think heaven is blue??..)...and i could really feel the spherical mother earth beneath me...breathing the pains ,injustice,destruction and all the slime of the human race!..
Today, this favourite pastime of mine is even more special....although somewhat bitter....because im celebrating my freedom from the clutches of an old ghost....my own ghost which haunted me for so long....but is now buried right here...where it first appeared in my life!!
My name is radya.im from a small village in the far western region of darfur province...in fact our village is among those very near the border with chad...and our people mainly live in the beautiful highlands of the marra mountain....the second highest peak in africa after kalaminjaro.
I come from an average, family of related parents and im the third among my my nine siblings.It was known across our village that radya was the loner who was always seen straying from the line of girls carrying wood and water from the nearby stream to go and lie on her back for hours on the grass staring at nothing!..my mother was adviced endlessly by the gossipy neighbours to take me to the "faky" in the nearby town of jenainah..to cast away the evil spirits from my soul...but she always answered that i was ok.
Like all the girls ..i was circumcised at the age of eight by my grandmother-the midwife- with a razor...my whole genital organ was severed and only a small hole left...and a great celebration was carried out with nuggara dancing and lots of money were put under my pillow.of course,i felt happy being the centre of attention, especially that i was given a silver"hijil" -ankle bracelet- to be worn all my life as a mark for a circumcised girl. but it was a bittersweet type of happiness....bittered by pain,confusion and shameful bloody memories!
The night of my circumcision party was the darkest,moonless night i can ever recall...i fought the excruciating pain while trying to void and was horrfied to see the amount of blood coming from my wound...i came from our toilet - a hole in the ground at the far end of our compound- shaken by the pain and barely able to walk....helped by my mother who was telling me that i was a woman now...and must always suffer in silence ...because my life will be filled with pain!!!....i saw my father sitting outside the hut counting the money happily and not even looking up to console me !.....it was a defining moment for me... something inside me was destroyed and rebelled forcefully .In my childish mind i knew i couldnt stay there any longer and started then my plan for escape!...i knew that there was a possibility that the world was just like this village ..but i had to try...i had to look for a life without the razor,the blood and the pain my mom was talking about!!......
Three months later, i looked back to have a last glimpse of my village...and all i saw was my mother's tears as she stood there...knowing what was on my mind,but never screaming for the men of the village to come after me...!!i ran..faster than the wind...with all my might...chased by the midwife's ghost...and the fear from a miserable future filled with silent pain and suffering!..taking with me only the silver hijil...
Oooh! It was an awfully long journey..looking for my lost soul and the dreams of a joyful future...and escaping from my ghost...from one refugee camp to another...from one UN camp to the next ....and then from one school to the other .... with my tea-making tools on my back , my hijil tight around my ankle....and my story fresh in mind. I went looking for the real radya....isolated by my miserable memories ..seeking redemption in the books...and working like a possessed soul in the camps day and night....avoiding any freindly contact from those approaching me...
Then....KHARTOUM....the institute for female teachers...women from all over sudan.Proud,joyful,grateful to be there , outgoing, creative and very original.it was there that i realised that the majority had undergone the same brutal procedure of female genital mutilation and some of them had more severe physical problems than the ones i was suffering......it was mahasin from abu hamad who casually told me one night that she was afarid for her younger sisters back home that brought my long-dormant mind back to life...!!!!!!!
I started looking at myself and scrutiniz ing my choices. and for the first time i snapped from the peacefull stream of the UN plans for migrant women and looked at myself closely....i was truly horrified to see a selfish,careless,rootless young woman who was running away as far as she can from her grass roots ..not caring about anything but starting a tasteless life in the city...and for the first time in years i heard the cries of hundreds of little girls in my village awaiting my return...and yearned to be held again in the warmth of my mother's chest and tell her what i have acheived...and amazingly, my future suddenly became so clear in my mind...and i felt the heavy weight of the stone between my legs -which i carried for so long- lifted gradually from my troubled mind.
In the following months i became restless with anticipation...i planned ,worked and studied like a mad woman to get my certificate as a teacher...and knocked all UN plus local NGO doors to get aid for my project...i wrote proposal after another ...until my efforts were rewarded.
Today, here i am, 12 years after fleeing my village...lying on my favourite spot...staring at the same blue sky and happily knowing that my hijil is buried underneath the earth on this very same spot....and contentedly waiting to hear the bell summoning my students for the first school for girls and illetrate women in my village...FOUNDED BY RADYA!!.......
to live a prisoner of your wounded body all your life will just deepen your scars and deplete your soul of the liveliness which could make a better tomorrow.....and to walk around chained by the heavy stone between your legs will just bind tighter and heavier chains around your mind!!
FREE YOUR BODY FROM THE SHEMFULLNESS AND UGLINESS SURROUNDING IT AND YOUR MIND WILL BE FREE TO CREATE BEAUTY!