I remember my days at Fall Creek Heights Elementary (a grade school that, when I was there, included grades one through eight with a graduation ceremony at the conclusion of eighth grade) very fondly.
In various things that I've written, I've shared several of my memories there.
One memory I had, of course, was our Halloween parties, which began with going into the gym (after we got dressed up) where each class had a turn at marching around in a circle while the judges decided on various awards for our costumes.
One of the years when I was a winner (for having the prettiest costume) was when I was in third grade and dressed like a bride.
I was given some sort of prize (candy, I believe) and everybody clapped and cheered.
After all of the classes had participated, it was time to go back to our classrooms where we had refreshments and played games.
The kids in the upper grades (5-8) eventually returned to the gym for a soc-hop. In later years, the entire school attended the soc-hop (as well as continuing to have the refreshments and games in each classroom), but this was how it was in October of 1961 when I was in third grade.
I was a bride for part of a day. Later on (wearing a different costume, as the bride one was rented), I went around with my dad trick-or-treating. I was what the girls in the following pictures should have been allowed to be: a child who wore a bridal gown and played make-believe but wasn't given to a man whom I didn't even choose to be his slave both sexually and domestically.
These little girls -- most of them not much, if any, older than I was that Halloween day so long ago -- can't even find pleasure in their wifely duties (even if they happened to be crushing on the adult men) because their genitals have had the feeling mutilated out of them in order to make sure that they remain faithful.
This has GOT to stop!!! As I've said before, even though my wanting to write a blog about empowerment was something I'd been thinking about doing for a long time, it was the story that Rose shared with me about these girls that actually served as the final nudge telling me that it was time to "JUST DO IT!!!" instead of simply talking about it.
I would like to give special thanks to a librarian named Tenisha (and another librarian named Cindy who referred me to her) for helping me to transfer these pictures from the email that Rose sent to me to this blog. They are just two of several very helpful employees serving at the downtown branch of the Muncie Public Library. I'll be telling you more about this library and the people who work here in a future writing.
If you click on this link, it will take you to the last entry I made in this blog that will link you not only to the story Rose is sharing but, also, to several examples of living an empowered life.
But don't even think about leaving this page before looking at the pictures of these young "brides" who look a whole lot more like junior bridesmaids -- or even flower girls! -- than brides!!!
!!!PLEASE HELP MAKE THIS STOP!!!
Rose wrote something about this, as English isn't her first language, I've done some editing, but I haven't changed her message...
The above is a sampling of Maasai girls. This represents just a few of many Maasai girls who are deprived of their individual and personal rights as human beings. They are mutilated and not being sent to school like boys with the perception that they will be married sometime later and they are a disadvantage to their blood families. The main task of the Maasai girls from birth is to be married and serve the demands of their husbands. In fact one can say that the Maasai girls are the source of wealth to their families through the bride price being paid by their grooms. Another vital issue that can not be underestimated is that their parents are the ones who choose spouse for their girls without even considering their ages.