Unreached Pokot Tribe Decides to Stop Female Genital Mutilation
Hello, friends! We have much news from Desert Rose Ministries and this letter is a joy to write.
First, I would like to share with you that I now have an intern working with me. My intern, Chelsea Barnard, is from Prattville, Alabama. She will be here for six months helping me with the administrative work. She’s also taking pictures and videos and writing blog posts documenting all the work Desert Rose Ministries has been doing.
We’ve had a HUGE breakthrough on Paka and I’m very excited to share it with you! As many of you know I have been working with the East Pokot community on Mount Paka for almost four years now. Paka is a remote mountain village beset with major problems, which have held their people bound for centuries. Besides needing the Lord, they 1) had no water supply, forcing village women to walk 8 hours a day to get rancid water from infested pools, and 2) practiced the ancient rites of female genital mutilation (FGM) and early forced childhood marriage. Plans are set in motion to bring water to the village, and I’ve been praying for the day when I could talk to this community about their customs of FGM and forced childhood marriage.
As the community saw how hard I was working to get water for them and how much I genuinely cared about their people and their well-being, I slowly started earning their trust. The Pokot tribe has named me “Mama Paka,” which means “mother of the land.” (You see, in Kenya once you become a mother, you will be called “Mama” and whatever your child’s first name is. For example, my housekeeper’s name is Nancy; after her first child was born, named June, everyone now calls her “Mama June.”) I have also earned the respect of the men in the tribe, enough so that I can sit with them. In the Pokot tribe, the men and women do not sit, eat, or converse together. The fact that I can sit with the men shows that I am now respected there as much as a man is.
All these circumstances worked together to make possible what happened on this past trip to Paka. God planned everything perfectly for this very moment, when I would FINALLY be able to speak about the issues in the Pokot community — and Chelsea was able to get the whole conversation on video!
The second day we were in Paka the people wanted to hear from me. They all gathered and I shared the updates on drilling the well. I told them that when the well is up and running, I’m going to work on getting a school, church, and medical clinic up on the mountain for them. I told them how important school was for their children, and told them their own children could be doctors, nurses and teachers for their community, which they agreed was important. This led to my being able to tell them to tell them about the new constitution that passed last year, making female genital mutilation illegal, with up to 10 years in jail if caught. I also told them the UN was getting involved and is cracking down on this issue, protecting these girls who are potential victims and imprisoning the people who are cutting these girls. (The UN has done good work trying to stop this but have not yet made it to the remote and primitive tribes like the one I have reached.) They argued and said that it was their culture, and one of the old men added, “How can you know a woman is a woman if she is not circumcised?” I proceeded to explain to them that most of the world doesn’t circumcise girls, and that I am a woman who was married and has a child and told them that I wasn’t circumcised… they were shocked. I talked to them about the dangers, and that there was no medical need for it. It really hit home for them, so much so that they agreed and said they wanted their culture to progress. They requested a seminar so they could be educated on the dangers of FGM, and I promised to arrange it.
I was consumed with happiness, humbleness, and excitement that moved me to tears. I have been patiently waiting, knowing God would open the door for this very moment. God has used my ministry to change an entire community! No longer will the girls of the East Pokot tribe be circumcised! Hallelujah, ALL GLORY TO GOD! This conversation was completely unplanned; I had no idea this would be trip when I would finally get the opportunity to educate them on this, and Chelsea got the entire conversation on video!!!
It’s been about two weeks since our trip and another huge development has been made. I’ve been trying to contact pastors I know who have connections with people who have done this kind of seminar. Pastor John Nabir, who is the pastor who introduced me to Paka and the Pokot tribe, knows a Pokot woman who has done an FGM seminar before. He gave me her contact information and I called her Thursday, June 20th. She said she would love to do a seminar and asked if we could meet and discuss it. I told her I lived in Nakuru and asked if she was ever here; she said she would in fact be here the upcoming Sunday, June 23!!! I was beside myself, again moved to tears that everything is happening so perfectly. God is truly guiding this whole thing!
Unfortunately, everything costs. Each trip to Paka costs me transportation, food, water, and supplies. The seminar will cost $1,500. I can’t do this alone!!! I desperately need prayer and financial support from my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ! This seminar will be life changing for this community! No longer will these young girls risk their lives and undergo emotional and physical trauma for this horrendous act that has no medical benefits whatsoever and actually decreases their quality of life. I really need your support, if you would like to help me financially to get the seminar to these people as soon as possible, please click the “donate” button on this website. My goal is to get this seminar together before I leave to come back to the U.S. in November, I fully trust that God will move in big ways to make that happen, but I also need your support! Help me change this community!
Here’s the link to video: PLEASE WATCH IT!