In Support of S.A.F.E. Kenya

In August 2015, on a sweltering afternoon in the Mara, Exodus guide Paul Goldstein and a handful of travellers set off to visit a small Maasai village called Talek, where S.A.F.E Kenya were performing.

S.A.F.E. Performance Talek

This was no ordinary performance. Despite the colour, the songs and the dancing, the theme was more serious – the practice of FGC, or Female Genital Cutting. 90% of Maasai women are cut, which involves removing the clitoris, the labia minora and part or all of the labia majora. This serves no medical purpose, and creates many problems, from severe psychological trauma to lifelong scarring that makes sex painful, complications in childbirth for both mother and baby, increased risks of infection and vaginal prolapse. Some girls even die whilst the procedure is carried out.

Yet almost all women refuse to abandon the practice. Why? This important rite of passage is crucial for a woman to be able to take her place in Maasai culture, and despite its horrific side effects, is genuinely believed to be in the best interests of the girls. For many, not having this immensely painful procedure done results in being ostracised from their families, makes it almost impossible to find a husband, and means exclusion from the traditional way of life.

S.A.F.E. Kenya

So imagine the challenge for the S.A.F.E team, led exclusively by Maasai people, to try to change this attitude whilst being inclusive and respectful of the Maasai culture. Through performance, debate and conversation, they are slowly gaining momentum, and steadily creating an impact. We’re raising funds and awareness to help the campaign, the final goal of which is to see FGC abandonment throughout the Mara.

Read more about our work with S.A.F.E. in our 2014 report.

S.A.F.E. Kenya

Here is what one customer, Katy Ingelby, had to say about the performance, which was given in Maasai language and translated to English by some of the S.A.F.E team:

“Waiting for the S.A.F.E. outreach performance to begin in the village of Talek in the Maasai Mara, I felt humbled at the thought that 90 per cent of the women in the audience around me would have been victims of female genital cutting (FGC). With the tradition so ingrained in Maasai culture, the scale of the challenge confronting the S.A.F.E. team is immense. How would local communities react to S.A.F.E.’s FGC abandonment programme?

I needn’t have worried. As the crowd swelled, I was impressed to watch how the performance unfolded, respecting cultural sensitivities while underscoring the need for communities to confront and discuss the problems inherent in the practice. Through traditional music, the performance seeks to change hearts and minds, taking the audience with them as they tackle each argument in favour of FGC one by one. I watched mesmerised as audience members took photographs and filmed the performance on their mobile phones, and hours later the rhythms were still going around my head. The project has shown early success in a number of areas and, although there is still a very long way to go to eradicate the practice for good, I felt honoured and moved beyond words to have been witness to this ground-breaking work.”

S.A.F.E. Kenya

Guide Paul Goldstein, who is a huge advocate of the project, commented simply:

“On the drive over, all the clients were very chipper having had a momentous game drive that morning. 90 mins later I drove them back, there was not a peep for the whole journey; that really says it all.”

S.A.F.E. Kenya

 

Learn more about trips going to...

Read our expert insights on...

Expert Blog Entries

African sunset

From the volcanic slopes of Kilimanjaro to the highland plateaux of the Simien Mountains, Exodus has cultivated an ar

Exodus has been specialising in offering incredible, life-changing moments to our travellers for over 40 years; now,

Related trips

  • New

Gorilla Short Break

Spending time with gorillas is possibly the top wildlife experience to be had anywhere.

Guided Group, Short Breaks

Wildlife Encounters
5 days inc. flights
From £2,649
Activity Rating - Moderate/Challenging
Moderate / Challenging
Add to wishlist
  • New

Mara Conservancy Safari

Stay at the intimate, eco-award winning, luxurious Kicheche Mara Camp within the vast wilderness of the Mara North Conservancy

Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures

Wildlife Encounters
8 days inc. flights
From £3,599
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate
Add to wishlist

Tanzania Cycle Safari

Explore northern Tanzania on 2-wheels and go on safari in some of Africa's best parks

Guided Group

Cycling Adventures
15 days inc. flights
From £3,559
Activity Rating - Moderate/Challenging
Moderate / Challenging
4.9 / 5
 from 
Add to wishlist

Cape Argus Cycle Tour

Cycle through South Africa's stunning Western Cape and take part in the world's largest individually-timed cycling event.

Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures

Cycling Adventures
11 days inc. flights
From £2,399
Activity Rating - Challenging
Challenging
4.9 / 5
 from 
Add to wishlist
Call us on 0208 772 3936