After my Ph. D. studies in bacteriology and immunology, I embarked on research related to mechanisms of pathogenicity of bacteria that cause disease in humans and animals. The most interesting part in this work is to discover the various ways a microorganism can change its characteristics to accommodate itself in a new environment for survival and propagation of its species. For example bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics in order to survive in an environment pumped with antimicrobial substances. Now I am no longer working in research but I work with asylum seekers and migrants displaced from their homes. They seek better survival possibilities in countries that can provide them and their children with better personal development opportunities.
Migrants and members of the majority culture are often challenged with positive and negative effects of multiculturalism depending on who makes a judgement on the other culture. Multicultural challenges are for example depicted by intolerance of a culture that one considers as abnormal. Clothing symbols, religion, civic education, relationships between parents and children, patriarchal attitudes, eating/food traditions, circumcision practices, marriage of underage, children’s rights, freedom given to children, etc. are examples of cultural aspects that alienate one group of people from another in a multicultural society. Circumcision, relationship between husband and wife, gender aspects of a culture, the role of soldiers and police, democratic/undemocratic values, etc. in a society are some of those cultural practices that migrants are associated with in their new homes. Often they are challenged with adaptability discussions.
This discussion has thus prompted me to write this book with the aim of how a migrant would look at his or her adaptability in a multicultural society. A migrant is thus in a dilemma in that he/she is loyal to his culture, has love for his/her children and yet some aspects of ones culture can lead to conflicts depending on how the majority culture sees and treats a minority group of people.
The group of people described in my book belonged to the minority culture in Mombasa. They practised circumcision in the region without the majority culture stopping them from doing it. But today this practice cannot be exercised in many countries where some migrants want to propagate the tradition to their children and grandchildren. Laws created by many governments have illegalised the practice. Still there are a few parents who send their children to their homelands to get their daughters undergo such an exercise that has been categorised as unlawful in many countries.
My story reveals how a circumcision exercise took place in Mombasa more than sixty years
ago among a group of people who practised circumcision that was a normal aspect of their culture.