Today, a girl child is born. Let's call her Nwando- an unbefitting name for a story like hers.
Nwando is a tiny little child when she comes into the world. She's ugly as all new borns are but her parents seem not to notice as they swear she's the most beautiful being they've ever come across. As she leaves her mother's womb, she comes out screaming the heavens down- a reaction to her new environment. Let's take a minute to laugh at Nwando, for she wails when she hasn't even experienced much of life's pain. But let's not laugh too loud. You see, in six months time she'll feel raw pain—the type that would make people ten times her age wish they had never seen the light of day.
In six months time, there'll be an old woman kneeling opposite the girl child. There'll be another woman- a younger one, holding the girl child tightly between her thighs. The older woman will have a razor and some herbs lying beside her. She, the older woman will spread the girl child's leg, looking for a certain piece of flesh and when she sees it, she will cut it off with her razor. Then, Nwando will scream worse than she screamed on the day of her birth. For the first time in her life, blood will pour from her skin. She, the girl child, will look for her father but she won't find him; he would be too 'weak' to witness the scene. Nwando will look for her mother and she'll find her watching from the crowd. There's something in her mother's eyes. Tears? Nwando is unsure because the tears in her own eyes blur her vision. If Nwando could talk, she'd ask her mother why she let them do this to her, knowing just how painful it is. And her mother would have informed her that she was trying to make her fit into the society, for we all know that a woman with a clitoris is a loose woman and no one wants to get married to a loose woman. But you see, Nwando won't ask her mother any question and her mother won't give her any reply because she (the girl child) has not found her voice.
Now, let's hop on our time machine and travel to a particular night sixteen years into the future. Sixteen years after today, Nwando will be a married woman, a rather unhappy one. You see, every night when her husband comes home he wants to lay with her but the girl child never wants to get laid. She screams and fights when he comes to her bed but he always wins. But this night, it's going to be different, for the girl child has a knife beneath the sheets. Her husband doesn't know this, but we do.
Now's a good time to come back to the present. Let's try to forget all that's going to happen in the future and focus on the present. Let's try to remember that, today, a girl child is born.
Chidera Colette Nweke
Chidera Colette Nweke