Monday, October 10, 2022

A Girl Child is in Danger

Annamaria on Monday

While researching the first two books of my Africa series, I never learned about female genital mutilation (FGM).  Those first stories dealt with colonialism’s general effects on the tribal populations. The plot of Book 3–The Blasphemers, however, deals specifically with the treatment of pastoralist peoples.  In studying them, I learned that in 1906 British missionaries had begun to fight against FGM.  They sought, over a hundred years ago, to make the practice illegal in British East Africa (now Kenya).  Such laws eventually passed. But – as with all crimes – having a law does not stop people from committing criminal acts. FGM continues to be practiced until this day.  For the girls between ages eleven and fourteen, it is almost immediately followed by forced marriage.


These cultural customs became background to the story of The Blasphemers.  Then, just as the book launched, I met Sarah Lesiamito, a proud Maasai woman from Samburu, Kenya, who at the time, had begun to rescue girls from these still-entrenched, retrogressive customs that robbed female children of freedom of any choice of how to live their lives.  I began doing what I could to support Sarah’s work.

When pastoralist girls refuse circumcision and want to continue with their education, they are almost always banished from their families.  Therefore, they need all the necessities of life–food, clothing, shelter, and moral support.


Sarah began by taking the girls into her own home, and for many years gave them all they needed to finish school and sometimes to go on to secondary school and higher education. One of those girls is now a nurse, who volunteers her services to the girls who have come after her.  When I met Sarah, she had ten girls in her care.


As her success grew, Sarah founded the Sidai Resource Center and attained non-profit community organization status in Kenya.  Sidai now has a dormitory building and cares for  forty-seven girls who have refused FGM and forced marriage and are now finishing school.  They are becoming full-fledged members of society.  Thanks to Sarah and Sidai.




Over the past couple of years, a group of friends have joined me in supporting this important work.  Our first goal was to gain tax-exempt status in the United States, so that we might invite others, who believe in education and freedom for girls everywhere, to join us.  We have persevered in this complicated process and are thrilled to announce, that under the auspices of CAFAmerica, we can now do so.


Today, I am inviting you!


Many of you, I am sure, believe in causes like ours.  Now, your donation can save a girl from pain and suffering that could last her lifetime.  Or from an infection that will rob her of her life.  Your generosity can free a twelve-year-old from being forced to marry a man many times her own age.  


A girl you support may become a teacher.  An accountant.  A seamstress.  A doctor.


A world of opportunity awaits those girls.


You can participate in their liberation.


Right here!  Right now!








  1. It's coming at the right time, EvKa! That drought I wrote about last week is threatening lives, just as worldwide the price of food is skyrocketing. And Sarah has 47 mouths to feed, not counting her own! All my digits are crossed.

  2. Let us know how the fund raising goes? Or is that information you'll be privy to?

  3. Thank you EvKa. I will know, and I will tell AA

  4. From Judith Baxter in New Zealand"
    Thank you AnnaMaria for bringing this to my attention. Of course, we knew/know that it was practised in many countries, but I foolishly thought that it was now stopped with all the new laws.
    How mistaken am I!

    1. Annamaria's reply:Thank you so much for you comment, Judith. It’s reports such a valuable piece of information for me. I never heard of the practice until a few years ago. I had read about it in historical research. I was shocked to find that it was still going on. Unfortunately, for the most part, all efforts to eradicate it have failed.

      It’s a hard subject to talk about, but because Sarah’s grassroots approach to stopping it in Samburu is really working, I am doing everything I can to support her.
      I hope you will continue to follow her progress.

    2. like. I shall continue to follow Sarahs progress.
      I recently read a book by Elizabeth George which centred around this subject - Something to Hide. Set in the UK, it was a difficult book to read. But even reading that, I thought this was a one off episode. Obviously, I was incorrect.
      Thank you for bringing it to our attention.
      Best wishes

  5. From Henrik S. Linnemann-Schmidt in Denmark;
    I was very moved by your blog yesterday.
    As I have lived on the African continent for upwards of 20 years, I have encountered the practise of FGM several times.
    In Egypt and other North African countries they snip off clitoris on girls down to the age of 7-8 and it is not done by doctors either.
    Neither is it only pastoralist or rural girls who are subjected to the barbarous treatment. Lots of girls in the cities are circumcised as well.
    I know this first hand, as my ex wife, who is Egyptian has had the tip of her clitoris snipped off and so had her sisters. She was a city girl, who grew up in Ismailia, where her father was a chief engineer at the Suez Canal.
    It was done by a local woman with her mother and aunts holding her, when she was seven years old. The women did it very often simply because it had been done to themselves and it had been like that for generations.
    It might not be so prevalent in the cities anymore, but I should imagine that most girls in rural areas suffer FGM.

    Luckily in Egypt they only snip off the tip. It is much worse in other countries in Africa where they both snip off the clitoris and stitch the labia together, often with very painful and sometimes fatal consequences from septicaemia.
    In Sudan and Somalia the problem is even greater according to my information.
    One could only wish that it would be possible to establish a sister organisations to the Sidai Resource Center in other countries in Africa where FGM is part of growing up for millions of girls.

    Thank you for your always interesting blogs.

    1. Annamaria's response:
      Thank you so much, Heinrich, for your email. The information you offer is so important. I knew that the practice persists in other places. There was even a scandal here in the US a few years ago of a woman doctor who was doing it to infant girls in the Midwest.

      There are also many people who have been fighting it—a battle that has been going on for more than a century, unfortunately without making much of a dent.

      This is why I am so enthusiastic about Sarah’s grassroots effort. She has found a way to change, not only the lives of individual girls, but the hearts and minds of the villagers. She has now has several volunteers who help her, one of whom is a young man who might otherwise be looking to abuse the young girls growing up around him.

      Fathers of two of the girls she has rescued were initially outraged at having been robbed of a bride price. But when one ‘s daughter came back as a trained nurse and the other graduated from high school with honors and is headed to university, their fathers became supportive of Sarah’s work. I am sure that you understand the significance of these changes of heart!

      Hopefully, we will find a way one day for Sarah to branch out and train other laborers in the vineyard of freedom.

    2. That sneaky little SOB autoINcorrect changed the spelling of your name Henrik. Stan will tell you what a failure I am at proofreading. But I plead my case: aINc sometimes "fixes" my spelling AFTER I press "PUBLISH." and true to its difficult self, Blogger does not allow edits on comments. I had only one chance, and I lost it. Forgive me, HENRIK.

  6. Henrik S. Linnemann-SchmidtOctober 13, 2022 at 5:14 PM

    Annamaria, you are forgiven.

    1. FGM is a deep rooted cultural practice in samburu, it's brutal , fatal.Thank you so much Patricia and Friends who help fight and end this retrogressive practice. As this wis save so many pastrolist girls life.