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2010 VOF WEEK 2

I am the seventh among eight children,and can say the most outstanding.I do not say this out of pride but I know God has destined me to bring light to the rest of my family.
On May 27 2010, my English teacher at the university Mr James Kromah told us to write a term paper that interests us the most. I then decided to write on a topic that was of national interest .Earlier on a group of women organized themselves and marched to the gender ministry calling on the government to put an end to female genital mutilation. There were mix views all over the country. Some organizations like the Traditional Council of Liberia were totally against it. They said it had been the way of life of the people, so those tribes that practice it should continue .I then took interest and decided to write in support of the traditional council. I then did my research and limited it to Liberia. I finally chose the topic “THE IMPORTANCE OF BUSH SCHOOL IN LIBERIA” The Poro and Sande as a case study. I wrote vividly on topics like, the importance of bush school, aims and objective of the bush school, administration, art and crafts etc. The day came when I was due to present my work. I introduced my topic and started to propound on the topics that I had written on. Then came finally, the question and answer section. Question came from all angles of the class. Of most were questions like “all of the activities of the bush school is done in secret, do you know it is demonic, 2 why do you support female genital mutilation don’t you know it is cruel, it is against human nature” Very relaxed, I answered the first question giving an analogy of the Masonic craft society in my country. This is an organization that comprises the elites only. This society is the at times consider the fourth branch of government, because it is believed that most of the decisions making is made at the temple of the Masonic craft. I then said in as much as the happenings of the Masonic Craft cannot be know to non members why should the happenings of the bush school be know to non initiates? I concluded by saying that’s the uniqueness of the bush school, if you want to know the actual happenings of the school you can go and join. Still relaxed I answered the second question asking a very foolish but rhetorical question. What’s the essence of writing a thesis paper in partial fulfillment of a degree before you graduate? Why don’t you have problem with the male circumcision but rather the female, I pause and every body in the class was starring at each other. I then ignorantly open up and said that the ritual was the final stage for initiating a girl into womanhood and no one could divorced that aspect of the bush school. Finally I had to make a recommendation to the class. I recommended the following;
Because of the health problems that are attached to the excursion process, a train nurse who is also an initiate be assigned to the school to aid in the process.
Because of the advancement of the world, a curriculum should be crafted to meet up with present day modernity, and the aspect of having schools in the deep of the forest be cancelled and be given well built and protected buildings that will keep non-initiates away.
And, lastly because of the cross-crossing of different cultures, ACCULTURATION should be consider.


A few days later the same instructor called me and asked if I along with my colleagues could do a bill and liaise with the traditional council to present it to the National Legislature to have it pass into law. He openly told me that he always long for that day when the culture of his people will be accepted and have the law to back them. I ecstatically accepted the offer and started to researched. I told my advisor Mr K Abdullai Kamara .Because of my enthusiasm while explaining to him he only smile and said can you please log onto GOOGLE and type in WORLD PULSE, and try to register and be a member. I became very mirthless because he did not say anything about my new assignment. He again said, you’ve always dreamt of a world free of discrimination against woman, WORLD PULSE will definitely help you in making your dreams come true. Resentfully, I log unto it and registered. I started reading through the articles and finally landed at Halima’s story. After reading her story and getting the clear picture of the inhumane treatment women, mostly children under go doing the excursion process, I became very low and started to cry. Mr Kamara then came in and said this id why you should not support that inhumane treatment against women. I cried because I had persuade my friends and they too is going to persuade some one else. Now the process continues. Secondly up to this point I don’t know what came over me to write such a topic. My ethnical background, the grebo tribe totally forbids her kinsmen from getting involve in such a ritual. I then and still feel guilty of betraying that which makes us unique. That moment ended my interest in the bush school and all its rituals. Till today I regret the minute I ever thought of such topic.
Finally I want to sincerely apologize to all those who have under went such a terrible moment in their lives, and will like to add my voice in putting an end to female genital mutilation.


judyschiller's picture

A change in perspective

Hello, Tennen,
Your story is very powerful! It was a bit "challenging," at first, for me to continue reading because I am against genital mutilation, and for the first 1/2 to 2/3rds of your story, you were supporting it. But... that's why it's important to read all the way to the end. :)

I am grateful that your advisor knows about World Pulse and that he directed you to their wonderful, empowering site. You used the Web 2.0 to learn a new perspective and to realize that we are all capable of changing our minds.

Keep up the great stories. Thanks for sharing your vulnerability with us.


missjenn's picture


Hi Tennen,

Thanks for sharing your personal story with us. Sounds like you have a genuine heart to help women and girls. Your research skills and passion are valuable assets. Keep up the great work and best of luck with your goals and future.


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