Desert Flower by Waris Dirie

From working at Mcdonald’s to becoming a well-known model, Waris didn’t have anything easy. I live in Uganda and I have heard and seen the issues African women face. Reading Waris’s journey has left me dumbstruck.

Female genital mutilation is a major concern in most African areas. Its brave of the author to speak about it and spread awareness about the atrocities little girls have to go through. It still shudders me to think how with zero medical care such incisions are done on young girls.

Waris’s story is truly inspiring.

Available on Amazon Kindle Edition, Hardcover and Paperback.

Some notes from the book –

-Life there was very hard; we needed all our strength just to survive and being negative sapped our vital energy.
-Waris means desert flower. The desert flower blooms in a barren environment where few living things can survive.
-The prevailing wisdom in Somalia is that there are bad things between a girl’s legs, parts of our bodies that we’re born with, yet are unclean. These things need to be removed—the clitoris, labia minora, and most of the labia majora are cut off, then the wound is stitched shut, leaving only a scar where our genitals had been. But the actual details of the ritual cutting are left a mystery—it’s never explained to the girls. You just know that something special is going to happen to you when your time comes.
-Virgins are a hot commodity in the African marriage market, one of the largest unspoken reasons for the practice of female circumcision. My father could expect a high price for beautiful virgin daughters but had little hope of unloading one who had been soiled by having sex with another man.
-Female circumcision, or as it is more aptly referred to today, female genital mutilation (FGM), occurs predominantly in twenty-eight countries in Africa.
-I learned that happiness is not what you have, because I never had anything, and I was so happy.
-It’s when you don’t have something that you appreciate it, and since we had nothing, we appreciated everything.
-The most valuable asset in life—other than life itself—is health. But people ruin their precious health worrying about all kinds of pointless little irritations—“Oh, here comes that bill, and another bill, and bills flying in from every direction, and…oh, how am I going to pay them all?” The United States is the wealthiest country in the world, yet everybody feels poor.
-These tribal wars, like the practice of circumcision, are brought about by the ego, selfishness, and aggression of men. I hate to say that, but it’s true. Both acts stem from their obsession with their territory—their possessions—and women fall into that category both culturally and legally.
-I feel that God made my body perfect the way I was born. Then man robbed me, took away my power, and left me a cripple. My womanhood was stolen. If God had wanted those body parts missing, why did he create them?


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