A fifteen-year-old girl has shocked many after she walked a hundred kilometers to evade a forced marriage and get back to school after she was forcefully circumcised.
Lucy Cherop says that for the last two months she experienced hell on earth after her parents married her off to an old man who forced her to take the cut.
“My parents married me off to a wealthy old man saying they could not afford my education. The old man dictated that I get circumcised as per our pokot culture. They tied me up and circumcised me by force,” Cherop said.
Cherop says she nursed the wound and within the first month she was healed and a traditional marriage ceremony was undertaken to formalize her marriage to the old man.
After the ceremony they moved in together and lived as husband and wife where they were put on a 24 hour security to prevent her from running away.
“It was disgusting to live with a man whom I was supposed to call grandfather as my husband while my peers were going to school,” Cherop said.
She says the two months stay with her forced husband was her lowest moments as everything was forced on her.
“I lived like a prisoner, sometimes even tied up and beaten to secure my stay there and force me into subjection,” she added.
Cherop says she came up with a plot one day and seduced her captors who fell for the trap.
“I sweet talked them and they fell for my lies that I wanted to look for some lost ropes at Alale area in North Pokot where we lived with my so called husband which was bushy. They let me go and that was the chance I was looking for,” Cherop said.
She says she never looked back and took the three days journey to Kapenguria 100 kms away looking for her freedom to return to school to finish her studies.
“I never cared what would happen to me as I passed through the bushes teaming with wildlife as if I used the main roads I would have been recaptured as I was sure the old man would send men on motorbikes after me upon realising that I had escaped.”
On the third day she reached the commercial part of Kapenguraia town called Makutano and sat on a retail market bench.
It is here that she met her savior Lilian Chebet whom she cried for help.
“I was going to buy vegetables at the market when I saw the girl sitting on the bench early in the morning shivering from the biting cold being experienced in this area,” Cherop's saviour told K24 Digital.
Chebet says that she greeted the girl who started crying asking for her help.
“She started crying saying that if I was a Pokot lady I should help her as she had walked from Alale to Kapenguria and had arrived in the night and sat on the bench,” Chebet said.
Chebet took her in and she narrated her predicaments which really pained her.
Local girl child advocacy led by Teresa Lokichu condemned the incident citing the return of female genital mutilation cases in rural areas despite the huge efforts taken by the government.
“You will find that parents have devised new ways of undertaking the practice of circumcising the girls and keeping them In closed houses to avoid detection by relevant authorities,” Chebet said.
Lokichu has asked the government through chiefs and Nyumba kumi officials to be vigilant on the cases saying they may destroy the gains made so far.
“Let the chiefs task village heads and Nyumba Kumi officials to be vigilant especially on huts that are not opened during the day,” Lokichu said.
For now Cherop has been handed over to the police for further action to be taken.