While every Quodoushka spiritual sexuality workshop I have taught has been a remarkably healing experience, once every twenty years or so, something truly extraordinary happens…
I’ll start by explaining how two Massai women from a rural village in Kenya managed to attend a Quodoushka sexuality workshop in Phoenix Arizona. In 2007, Annetta Luce, a friend I met during an Australian “Q,” volunteered to go to Africa to work and live with a local family literotica. After returning to the U.S., she was later contacted by Jane, a woman from the same Kenyan village who was now in Philadelphia, seeking asylum to remain in the USA.
Jane is the mother of three children, including a 12-year old daughter, Esther. Like all women in the Massai tribe, Jane was “cut” as a child, near the same age as her own daughter and soon thereafter pledged by her father into an arranged marriage.
I must admit, I had heard about the “cut,” a primitive form of female genital mutilation. I read that it is done by women who, to this day, physically hold down the young girls, cut off their clitorises with a knife and then pour cow’s urine over the open wound. Yes, I knew of this gory insanity, but it seemed like yet another God-awful, far-away, unsolvable problem – that is, until Jane came into my living room.
I was immediately smitten by the grace of her quiet, yet formidable determination to prevent her daughter from suffering a similar fate. I was floored by her audacity to stand up against tribal elders, to rebel against the bondage and beatings, to earn the money, to overcome anything that would dare stand in the way of her love for her daughter…and her intelligence. You see, according to Massai custom, if the mother is alive, but not physically in the village, the elders may not perform the “cut.” By seeking asylum here, refusing to return to Kenya, she forestalls the process.
As I share the details of Jane’s story, I must explain that I have had but a brief glimpse of a complex situation and I make no claims to understand the nuances of Massai customs or culture. It wasn’t my idea for Jane to come to a Quodoushka – it was her idea. She told the story of her daughter at our Tigress Moon Woman’s Group heard about the Q and promptly decided she would attend with Agnes, a Massai friend living in the US who also managed to escape after being beaten for refusing as a girl, to marry a sixty year old man.