Shiners School Quiz

October 15, 2018

Low self-esteem, peer pressure, pornography, sexuality, drugs and substance abuse, broken families and poverty are some of the issues that came out strongly from the quiz we gave the girls at Shiners School. It is very sad to read some of the answers these girls gave, most of them are clearly fumbling in the dark-looking for solutions in all the wrong places. As mentioned earlier, and from my personal observations, most of the girls simply want to belong. They are at a stage in life where they are extremely confused with what is going on around them, and some of them will make decisions that they will regret later in life if they do not receive guidance early enough.

We also noted that mothers play a very big role in the lives of these girls. Less than 5 girls felt the effect of having a male figure in their lives, most appreciated their mothers for being there for them and giving the support even when they have fallen off. Clearly, the teenagers are having a crisis when it comes to parenting. They feel their parents are too tough, and they don’t understand them, but they are quick to point out that their mothers never give up on them. The role of the dad in these relationships is barely felt; these are issues that need to be addressed. Grandparents and aunties are also playing a major role in the upbringing of these girls.

We gave the girls the option of writing their names on the question paper or not, and as to be expected, most of them chose not to write their names for obvious reasons. One girl hoped to have a better relationship with her dad. She prayed for her mother to be healed, sadly as regards her experiences as a teenager she stated she wished to die if things do not change. She indicated she does not need any advice because according to her ‘her life is already ruined’. This girl did write down her name, a definite cry for help. We had already singled her out because she was the first person to hand in her paper; she looked completely dejected. This is one girl that we must and will walk with- she needs help and she is crying out for it.

On the curriculum, we covered our last lesson which was on FGM. The girls are always very keen to hear about the FGM procedure, curious to know the various types of the cut, horrified to hear what the girls endure and the dangers of getting cut. The questions are immense, and I carry a chart while teaching them and give them the current statistics. One girl was brave enough to confess that she had undergone the cut and confirmed that most of the dangers of FGM are real because she has seen them in her community. She also added that she suffers with bladder control and she still has images in her head of two women holding her down as an old woman cut her. She was barely 10 years old. Another girl who is also from the same Borana community followed me after class to say she, too, had been cut. She had not even joined primary school when it happened. She bravely said she will ensure that her children will not face the cut when that time comes. Clearly, these girls were not given an option then, but now they know better.

We will graduate Shiners Girls members on the 20th of this month and Kimuka on the 23rd.

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