How Much Does The Average 15 Year Old Boy Weight The Cutting Edge – Observation of a Maasai Male Circumcision Ceremony

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The Cutting Edge – Observation of a Maasai Male Circumcision Ceremony

it is night. Not just at night, but in the “bush” night which means that the only light is the flickering flames and the glow of a few kerosene lamps around the camp. We drink ours chai (tea) and kahaua (coffee) to warm our hearts against the wind blowing across the plains of Simanjiro as our Maasai companions, Alterere and Leiyo, will hurry us on our journey…we will be late.

We jump into two audio collections. Our ill-mannered Maasai friend tried to negotiate the two seats in front of me and my sister, to no avail, and reluctantly hopped into the back. We drive through the night looking for the glimmer of an eye in our headlights, twisting and turning on unforgiving roads. No one is in our way, no one crosses our path, no one jumps on a ride like they usually do here during the day. It should be around 9:00 pm to reach the place bomb (Maasai village) and we quickly discovered that we missed it – the ceremony was over. What now?

We sat in the car, surrounded by Maasai, waiting for Hassan to determine the next move, greeting the faceless arm that crosses its path through the darkness towards the window. I wonder how they live in such darkness at night when I feel spoiled by modern technology. Outside our car there are various gatherings, we hear murmurs; the torch clicks on and off – briefly showing a face, an eye and a tooth, but that’s it. Apart from that, the night is dominant. Hassan got out of the car, talked to the elders and did the public relations necessary to get permission for the ceremony. Sometimes his head pops up to give us news, “… four boys have been circumcised here… all of them can’t walk and are in bed… the doctor is still here… invited to the party other…”. Then he returns to the abyss.

It is important to note that among the Maasai, respect and communication are not only really important, but two governing forces in his life. The first part of any meeting is usually devoted to greetings and formalities. Nothing is too important to be rushed; we are here in the “time of Africa”, and so we continue to wait. It is done after talking and explaining with the elder that we will follow the doctor (is he confirmed?! I’m not sure …) to the neighboring boma about an hour and a half away. Once again, the lights illuminate our path and we set off after the doctor and his team. Although I said nothing is too important to rush because I never said nothing is too important to rush the. I have (until now) never seen an African show any urgency, but this doctor gave new meaning to the phrase “…bat out of hell”. Every now and then our car slows down to gently navigate a bump or pothole in the road and within seconds the dim red light we’re following is gone. Many times we have nothing but dust to follow. Then, like a beacon in a storm, we saw the lights in the distance, the car zig-zagging through the bush. The hour-long chase (as it happens) is interrupted by a few panicked hyenas jumping onto the road and (finally) when the “getting” car is destroyed by its front wheel axle (shocking). This made us the only vehicle, and immediately elevated us from mere observers of the ceremony, to true observers! I, being more vague in metaphors, compared us to the horsemen of the apocalypse for these young men who will suffer insurmountable pain.

We arrived at the boma with butterflies in our stomachs, in complete darkness again, to the soft sounds of a hauntingly harmonious chant. “Boys must be cut…” I whispered. But as we approach the sound, we see a tableau against the moonlight in about eight groups Morani (Maasai warriors) in a circle (usually a circle not only builds its village but also its rituals). The singing and singing goes on and on, with one singer singing alone and the others joining in. The voice is guttural and hypnotic – very attractive and beautiful despite the fact that the Maasai language is foreign to us. After some investigation we found that the Morani never sings but insults both lion (uncircumcised) who are completely naked in all this. We learn from Hassan that this is done in an attempt to anger the boys to endure the pain that awaits them, the effort is to cool them down in an attempt to relieve them. Any affliction can be compared to hazing in a fraternity; However, you can imagine the way of “tying” in the university compared to this famous and ancient ritual.

This is confirmed by another flash of lightning: in the center of the circle are two swaying and trembling bodies with their hazy arms crossed over their bodies. The lights went out again. The chanting continues and another flash of light shows the gnashing of teeth (ie freeze to death) and the whites of his eyes. I was worried about these two boys, and I found myself overwhelmed by the weight of the future. Circumcision is performed with a razor, without anesthesia, and if a boy screams, moves, or cries – he fails this test and is expelled from the village, which brings great shame to his family. I can’t help but think that these little boys (9 and 13 years old) are too young to take on such a huge responsibility.

It’s time to invite them and my friend, Leiyo, leads me by the hand to the area outside the boma where the ceremony will take place. This is done outside the village because only after circumcision can they be asked to return to the boma again, this time as men. The doctor now has a flashlight and the area is well lit. The men of the boma began to gather around as two cowhide mats were placed on the floor, and each chatty boy was led to one. The women are in their huts (it is forbidden to watch this ceremony) – the wailing of the mother pierces the shrieking air. The feeling I have in the pit of my stomach can be compared to the feeling one gets while watching a video where a hero is being led to the guillotine – one of sadness, anxiety, and longing. to complete the entire test. as soon as possible.

The boy sits on the mat, his legs spread out in front of him, his upper body in his uncle’s arms. In this particular case, his face is covered by hers shukas (traditional Maasai cloth). I hold my breath. The doctor shows off a new razor that glimmers in the light and doesn’t rush to cut. The first boy is tough, not even flinching or punching when the razor cuts. My tense body does not rest until I see that he is gone. His mother seemed to notice it too; cries of pride, joy and relief echoed through the night.

The second boy, very young, had my stomach in my throat for the very first part as I let out a shallow gasp of air that blew through clenched teeth. He posted a few of these and I’m sure he was tearing up. When all this was done, the elders spat on the ground around him, forcing me to believe that he had failed, but I was wrong. It is a form of respect to spit, and the little boy (who we gather later, was given a little freedom because of his youth) proved his bravery and courage.

They are taken to recovery with their mother waiting for them and that’s it. The actual circumcision was only about 15 minutes long, but we found out that the circumcision we went through started at 6pm (which was midnight), so it was essentially a day event.

All the hardships left me with an undeniable feeling that was overshadowed by the great relief I felt for each boy. I immediately felt a connection with the Maasai and especially the boys because we were allowed to witness the most important events in the life of a Maasai man. It was very humbling and reminded me that religious practices benefit and strengthen the community. I cannot think of a single event in the life of the average American that holds the social significance of the event I have just described. I can’t help but feel that we may be lost in this idea or construction that strengthens bonds and builds character like Maasai circumcision does. It is not barbaric, evil, pagan or fanatical; it is, in fact, the opposite. The very rare event that I have witnessed is not only soul-building, proud-raising and absolutely admirable… Beautiful.

If you would like more information on how you can experience something similar, please get in touch Tropical Trails Safari Company in Arusha, Tanzania.

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