My name is Namunuak Grace and this is my story.
My Maa name ‘Namunyak’ means ‘LUCKY’ I consider myself lucky in many ways. I was lucky to have been taken to school while other girls stayed at home looking after the cattle waiting to be married off. I was the only girl from my village going to school amongst many boys. Their insults did not make me change my mind. When I completed my primary school level, my luck was put into testing. A brother to my dad came back from exile and demanded that I should drop out of school to be married to a man who had two other wives. I had passed very well in national exam and definitely was going to be enrolled in a very good provincial school. He made this demand because my dad had sold their younger sister in the absence of his elder brother. So I was to be sold to pay what my dad had taken.
I consulted my grandmother who was still alive be then. She was against the deal and told me not to give in to his demands. My dad was against it too but he had no option but to pay back. I used my grandmother to force my elder dad to let me go to high school with a promise that as soon as I completed high school, I would get married to whomever he wanted. He agreed but and started negotiations with the man who was to marry me. He was given what he asked and the man was to wait for four years for me to complete high school. I never showed any signs that I might change my mind and this gave my elder dad confidence that I will not let him down. I did my high school national exam and did it well again. Now it was time to fulfill my promise. My granny was still alive so I went to her for advice. She advised not to allow him force me to the old man. She was getting too old and time wasted would lead me to conceding defeat. The only option left was for me to elope with anyone else to run away from this old man. I did it. I may have taken the wrong decision at that particular moment but later had good results. I went to college after three years. I became the teacher I am today.
My desire to help young girls comes from my story. If I had someone to tell what I was going through, maybe I could not have suffered the way I did. It is so heartbreaking to see young girls being married off at this tender age. Their stories make me cry every time I hear. It brings back the memories that I wouldn’t want to remember. I would like to extend my ‘LUCK’ to them. I would like for them to have something to tell others in the future.