It was a long day, but what a beauty! I’m so proud of REK. Make that the Olive Cooperative. Jam3ia Azaytun. Congratulations!
Get this. It is a cultural necessity that all boys are circumsized here in Morocco. However, not everyone can afford the MD visit, much less the traditional celebration that follows. Allow me to share what that can look like…
Last year, in Ain Leuh, I accompanied Khadija to one such celebration. Mind you, this was not a wealthy family. However, the young couple took their year-old son to the sbitar for the procedure. Then at least 60, maybe far more (we were all in different rooms, men and women separated from one another) gathered at the home of the mother’s parents. We got there around 10pm. We ate (just one room of women) around 2am-first chicken, then couscous, then fruit. Then there was singing and tea. Around 3am the boy was brought in, dressed in the costume of the occasion, and his hands and feet henna’d by his grandmothers on both sides, and wrapped in linen. We left around 4am, and were invited back for more celebrating the following day (which we skipped). This is a typical celebration for the circumcision of your child. A big deal, and not cheap.
So, there are obviously those who cannot afford a similar event, yet do not want their child disadvantaged. That’s where Azaytun came in yesterday. They sponsored a first-time event of paid circumcisions for boys in the surrounding countryside, all done at the Caid’s office in the zlul below REK. But that’s not all….
Every child was welcomed. MDs and nurses came in from Rabat to do the procedures. Every boy was given the gift of a new outfit-in the traditional design for the occasion-pants, shirt, overshirt, hat and babouche. Then their hands were henna’d. All were accompanied by their mothers, but many had fathers there and other family waiting. 148 boys in all underwent the procedure. All for free. Ham-du-li-lah.
Now these poor boys, aged from months-old to some as old as 3 or 4, didn’t know what was coming. Great, looks like a hfla (party)-new huwaj (clothes), cookies. Great. What’s this? Mom, why aren’t you coming in with me? Yikes! And all I got was a lollipop? (Apparently the lollipop following MD hurt is global). Lots of tears in the “recovery” room. Mskins (poor things!).
In addition, 2 other MDs from Rabat saw other people from the surrounding area for free, all day long. Another man set up a computer/projector to show a slide show about AIDS prevention (called SIDA here).
All of this was sponsored, coordinated and worked by the Jam3ia Azaytun. So very proud of them. What a gift to the community. Tbarkalikum Jam3ia Azaytun!