Written by Timothy Makokha
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As the circumcision season nears in Bungoma County, circumcisers have been urged to use one knife per initiate as one way of preventing the spread and infection of HIV/AIDS.
The circumcisers, under their Balusanya association who had converged at the home of one of their members, were told to be ambassadors of preserve the culture of the Luhya people by embracing change in how they used to do in the past.
Mrs. Everline Wafula, a village elder of Sikalame village, where they held the meeting on Tuesday, urged the circumcisers to closely observe their code of ethics in order to ensure a successful circumcision season.
She also represented women whose children are going to be circumcised this year in the meeting.
On his part, Mr. Tito Mukhalisi, the host, who has been circumcising since 1972 explained to the members present about the need to use one knife for each initiate while explaining the dangers of sharing circumcision knives in the current society which has challenges of incurable diseases.
The elders present explained the need and importance of circumcising male children traditionally citing an example of the informal education that initiates receive as they undergo the process.
They insisted that it’s one way of celebrating the life of a male child in the home as well as promoting unity as people meet to celebrate together.
The officials of the association and a few parents whose children are preparing to undergo the cut met in preparation for the main cultural meeting that will be held at the same venue on 31/7/2012 comprising circumcisers from all Luhyia sub tribes in Western province and Bamasaaba from Uganda.
In the meeting there were chief retired circumcisers who advise and guide circumcisers in their endeavors. For instance Vincent Simiyu Wanyama who was a circumciser as from 1958 stopped circumcising and currently is a respected adviser in the Balusanya association.
The meeting will be specifically for blessing the surgeon knives (khubiita chingembe) to make the circumcision season a success. Local liquor (kwete) will be in plenty for the occasion and chicken will also be slaughtered among other traditional rituals and sharpening of the knives.
The white chicken will be slaughtered as a sign of peace and harmony in the season while the brown chicken will be slaughtered to symbolize the blood that will be shed by initiates. Ancestors will be welcome in the process to clear the way for circumcisers in their duties.
They also advised parents to thoroughly inspect the knives before allowing any circumciser to do the operation apart from also knowing their back ground to ensure they have no negative record.
Elders advised circumcisers to wash their hands using disinfectants. Sefu Wandege who is one of the circumcisers urged fellow circumcisers to stop the bad habit of bewitching one another in the circumcision process saying that such behavior is dangerous as it is the initiate who end up suffering as the victim of circumstances.
Stephen Kelas Makokha a circumciser from Ekitale urged fellow circumcisers to use baked bricks while preparing dust (lipukhulu) that is used for holding the fore skin firmly in the process. He also advised parents present to ensure a circumciser spends a night in the home to ensure he is of sound mind for the success of the rite.
This year’s meeting for circumcisers is expected to be quite unique as it will include circumcisers from all Luhyia sub tribes and the bamasaaba circumcisers of Uganda. After the 31/7/2012 meeting and the circumcision of the first group of initiates on 1/8/2012 the circumcisers will proceed for a similar meeting at Emitoto in Uganda.
The cultural spirit for circumcision among the Luhyia people is highly appreciated and those who posses it deserve the respect.
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