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Born in the Big Rains: A Memoir of Somalia and Survival
     

Born in the Big Rains: A Memoir of Somalia and Survival

5.0 1
by Fadumo Korn, Tobe Levin (Translator), Sabine Eichhorst (Contribution by)
 

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Fadumo Korn's idyllic childhood roaming her country's steppes with her nomadic family ends with the trauma of her ritual "cutting." In desperate need of medical care, she is sent to the capital, Mogadishu, where she moves in with a relative close to the Somali president. There, the girl experiences incongruous wealth even as Somalia faces civil war. Eventually, Fadumo

Overview

Fadumo Korn's idyllic childhood roaming her country's steppes with her nomadic family ends with the trauma of her ritual "cutting." In desperate need of medical care, she is sent to the capital, Mogadishu, where she moves in with a relative close to the Somali president. There, the girl experiences incongruous wealth even as Somalia faces civil war. Eventually, Fadumo is sent for treatment to Germany where she recovers her health, has a family, and becomes a spokesperson against FGM.

About the Author:
Fadumo Korn works for Forward-Germany, an organization dedicated to promoting action to stop FGM

About the Author:
Sabine Eichhorst is the author of Courage to Defend Yourself: Strategies Against Sexual Violence and A. Long Way Home: Prisoner of Uzbekistan

About the Author:
Tobe Levin is collegiate professor, University of Maryland in Europe; nonresident Fellow, W.E.B. DuBois Institute, Harvard University (2006); and cofounder of FORWARD-Germany

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Beginning with its evocative opening sentence "In the distance, a lion roared, deep and long, dismissing the night" this impassioned, beautifully written memoir is a testament to the possibility of wedding literary prose to sophisticated political arguments. Korn grew up as a spirited girl in an Islamic Somalian nomadic tribe in the late 1960s. At seven she was forced to undergo female circumcision, in which her clitoris and labia minora were removed with crude utensils and her vagina sewn up. After chronic pain, illness and rheumatism set in, Korn went to live with her rich uncle, a government official in Mogadishu, until her circumcision-related ailments became debilitating; she was taken to Germany for medical treatment, and years later her circumcision was undone. Married to a German, Korn became involved in the European campaign against female genital mutilation (FGM). While the bulk of the book is a devastating and swiftly moving account of Korn's tragedy-filled life, it also persuasively argues that health workers must understand the power of traditional customs even as they work to end FGM. Written with German writer Eichhorst, this is a brutally honest, politically sensitive and bold addition to literature on global women's health. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT - Patricia Moore
Born in the Somalian desert, Fadumo Husen was a happy child in a loving nomadic family, but everything changed for her when, at the age of seven, she was circumcised. Circumcision was a tradition for all Somalian girls at that time. They were told that once they were circumcised, they would be "pure" and "clean" and a woman. For Fadumo, circumcision was followed by intense fevers and swelling in all her limbs. Her resulting rheumatism so crippled and disabled her that her father finally took her to Mogadishu to see his half-brother, a doctor. There followed other doctors, other hospitals in Italy and Germany, but only temporary relief. Finally, in Germany, Faduma found a surgeon able to reduce some of the effects of the original circumcision. The saga of Fadumo's physical and psychological pain is a beautifully written backdrop to the story of her eventual crusade against the custom of female "cutting"—"cutting" because many women reject the phrase "female mutilation" as implying that they have been damaged by the process. She found the group FORWARD (Foundation for Women's Health, Research and Development) and became an activist against female circumcision. There are two stories interwoven in this smooth-flowing text. One is personal, the story of Fadumo's life, her family, and her eventual marriage and the birth of her son. The second is that of the growing social movement in favor of African women and against female genital mutilation. Each story has its own development and outcome. Together they are a reading experience not to be missed. Reviewer: Patricia Moore
From the Publisher

"A moving, unsentimental, and informative account of the painful personal experience that inspired, and continues to fuel, [Korn's] work." —People Magazine, Critic's Choice

"This impassioned, beautifully written memoir is a testament to the possibility of wedding literary prose to sophisticated political arguments . . . a brutally honest, politically sensitive, and bold addition to literature on global women's health." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"A UN declaration demands the elimination of FGM. Yet the practice continues because it enforces men's sexual authority but also because women accept it as a cultural marker, a coming of age rite. Fadumo Korn's story limns the interstices of these social and very human contradictions. It is a courageous, deeply sympathetic, and indispensable testament." —Elfriede Jellinek, 2004 Nobel Laureate in Literature

"What brings truly sustainable change is the courage of individuals like Fadumo Korn to move from survivors to impassioned advocates for justice. This book helps us all to understand how such a transformation is possible." —Noeleen Heyzer, executive director of UNIFEM

"FGM is a trauma as much to the psyche as to the body. This riveting memoir lets readers witness every aspect of a complex and triumphantly successful recovery. Fadumo's past resilience carries over to her inspiring career as a champion of the reproductive rights of girls and women today." —Efua Dorkeeno, Order of the British Empire; Ghanian women's health advocate; and founder, FORWARD - International

Born in the Big Rains begins like a beautifully written work of fiction... but the writing’s rich details and driving action belie that this is no tall tale... [Korn’s] testament on FGM [is] brave and full of strength.”
Feminist Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781558615311
Publisher:
Feminist Press at CUNY, The
Publication date:
09/01/2006
Series:
Women Writing Africa Series
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Meet the Author


Fadumo Korn is the vice president of FORWARD-Germany, an organization dedicated to promoting action to stop FGM. She lives with her husband and son in Munich.

Writer and radio journalist Sabine Eichhorst is the author of Courage to Defend Yourself: Strategies against Sexual Violence and A Long Way Home: A Prisoner of Uzbekistan.

Dr. Tobe Levin is collegiate professor at the University of Maryland in Europe and co-founder of FORWARD-Germany.

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Born in the Big Rains: A Memoir of Somalia and Survival 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago