Our thanks to Paul for this. An excerpt:
But for most of the tribe, the ceremony remains deeply significant. They have always been open to outsiders witnessing Imbalu, and are beginning to open up to tourists.
“I found the ceremonies fascinating,” says Floris Burgers, 22, from the Netherlands, who saw them this season while working in the area. [Note: Floris is a man’s name in the Netherlands.]
The end of the article, after a gender switch:
For 19-year-old Sullaih and her family, a lot hinges on a successful circumcision.
Any sign of weakness or reluctance could mean she is forcibly circumcised or called a coward for the rest of her life.
As a symbol of family unity and an offering to the spirits of ancestors, a goat’s heart and lungs are pitched on a stick over the spot where Sullaih will become a woman.
The smell of millet beer is thick in the circle surrounding the 19-year-old as the surgeon readies his blade.
The crowd erupts as he begins to cut. She stands firm, her face unmoving. It is over in seconds.
After hours on her feet, Sullaih is at last allowed to sit at the centre of the crowd.
Blood drips at her feet where money is collecting.
Asked how she feels, Sullaih has only one word: “pain.”
But her suffering remains unseen.
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