Strange memory, one event triggers long time memory to help put confusion to rest. I am grateful for this more ‘open’ world where I learn almost daily that under our very many different shades of skin colour, we are not too different.
It was enlightening reading about Jacqui Beck where she talked about living with MRKH syndrome, a condition where one is born with no womb, cervix or vaginal opening.
What was even more enduring was the way she handles it all, after dealing the initial shock and the community effort that helped her to deal with this condition.
With MRKH, external genitalia is normal so possible to live with the condition to adulthood without suspecting. Most detect they had it due to absence of period or inability to have sex due to shallow vaginal carnal.
Then I remember, we do have that condition in Nigeria too, women with such condition are called Akiribótó in Yoruba. Like any unusual condition, the stigma is worse than the condition itself.
When I was little, there was a woman who has a fruit stall in the local market, her birth name was only used when addressing her directly, her name any other time was Akiribótó.
I want to remember what was said about this woman and what her status is today, happy my sister remembers her too, unfortunately we both had no idea what her real name was – shame. My sister still sees the woman occasionally and her name remains the same – very sad. I am glad the woman found a solace in the church – this is when I think church provides a much-needed escape for those that society would not stop picking on.
The lady in my town must be in her late 50s now, apparently her news came to light after she got married, unfortunately, the marriage only lasted for a couple of months.
And of course living in a rural area doesn’t help especially in areas where superstition is easily accepted as explanation for anything unusual. I can only imagine how much this woman must have run from pillar to post in the past, doing all sorts of sacrifices to dispel her condition.
I do hope we continue to learn we are no longer in an isolated world, hopefully people living with this condition can find peace knowing they are not alone.
As it just happens that sometimes women’s worth is measured by her ability to reproduce, well in the case Akiribótó this can not happen, unfortunately, however, at least women living with this type of condition can make peace with the fact that intimate relationship is still very much possible with help of medical interventions. And more importantly to know is that we are in ever connected world where there are lots of community support even if it have to be from across the atlantic.