Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Visitors to Butiama

I had the privilege recently to host at Butiama doctors from the Medical Women Association of Tanzania (MEWATA) who had just completed a visit to the district of Tarime.
I remember only two names: Dr. Brenda, because she mentioned her name as she was about to pull out a donation for the Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Library comprising former President Julius K. Nyerere's 8,000-plus book collection, and Dr. Lillian, because she called me to inform me of their intention to visit Butiama.
Dr. Lillian, (second from left), and Dr. Brenda (right) with their colleague (third, from left) donating to the Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Library
During their visit, one subject that came up in conversation was what has been known for a long time as female circumcision, now known as female genital mutilation.

I feel it is rather difficult to influence those communities that indulge in the practice just by attempting to isolate one link in a chain of events that revolve around the transition of a young woman from one age group to another, a transition that allows acceptance into the next group and recognition by the community.

A member of the community who does not go through this transition becomes an outcast. The only possible means of avoiding this transition is by avoiding the community itself.
In front of the Mausoleum of Mwalimu Nyerere
A Masai friend told me that a Masai woman who skips that stage cannot get married and that remains true of many ethnic communities throughout Tanzania. Changing attitudes among these communities has to involve a dismantling of deep cultural roots and traditions that have solidified with use over centuries, no doubt a difficult task.

The continuing migration from rural to urban areas will eventually create a new generation of individuals whose links with these traditions will be severed and the practice will die with time.

1 comment:

Verlia said...

Thank you for sharing. I do believe that it is not only the migration from rural to urban but really about women finally finding their voice to say about their choice on their bodies.