It was 1997 on a Monday morning when my father took me to a school. Actually I was not willing to go to school. Why? Because to me school was a place of punishment.
My father said to me “Fatuma, today I am going to take you to school!” I started crying “Father, no-o-o.” Father said “My daughter, you have to learn this is the way of becoming a woman.” I said to him “No Father going to school will not make woman but initiation will make a woman (circumcision).” And my father smiled at me and said to me “my daughter, I will show you other girls learning at school.” And he took me to the school. The first person I met was a “madam.” The madam was called “Fatma.” Even Fatma is going to school!
I stand behind my father to make sure that madam wouldn’t beat me. She took me to class one where I met some girls and boys who were singing:
“Take the book and the pen, start education,
Education will give you light.”
It was a Somali song and actually I joined in those who were singing and I started introducing myself to the boys and the girls who were ??? girls.
In the evening when I came back to the home, I came while singing:
“Take the pen and the book, start education,
And my father laughed and laughed and said to me “My dear daughter you are now growing into a woman.”
I understand that “school is not a place of punishment.”
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