Friday, 3rd December, 2010 Sabiny girls during the Wednesday night circumcision ritual in Bukwo district. By Frederick Womakuyu SOME cried. Some were confused. Others still traumatised, while many were left speechless.They looked on in disbelief as a local female surgeon tried in vain thrice, probably using a very blunt knife, to cut off a girls clitoris. She then asked for another, similarly blunt knife and to make it work, applied extra force, going back and forth, the way a saw cuts into timber. The girl struggled not to show fear and to contain her trembling, which is culturally unacceptable and would have attracted scorn and ridicule from the attentive crowd. As blood gushed from her private parts, the crowd urged the girls: Be strong! You are almost done! Remain calm! People stood on hills; others climbed trees and some pitched camp on roof tops of huts to catch a glimpse of the ritual. A white lady in the crowd was so shaken, she said later that she wished she could have saved the girl from the severe pain and embarrassment. Once cut, the girl was pushed aside, like a slaughtered chicken, her legs put together as if to stifle the pain and another descended upon. Yet, when Saturday Vision interviewed her, she said she was happy and excited. But her facial muscles reflected the pain buried inside her, away from society. I am happy I have become a woman by being circumcised. I will be able to do what other cut women do. I will now be able to climb into the granary or milk cows, which I was not allowed to do till now, Alice Chemutai said. She had a blanket wrapped around her waist. Eight girls cut with two knives Then seven other girls - one by one, wrapped in dirty blankets and strewn all over a compound hosting two huts, were circumcised. The circumciser would first throw fine millet flour into their private parts to reduce friction and wetness. She used the same knife to cut each of them. The knife was not sterilized, exposing all of them to the risk of the deadly HIV. The cuts lasted close to 50 seconds. As the mutilated girls lay helpless, an old woman, threw millet flour over them to appease the spirits and ordered them to kneel so that the blood could pour out. Most of the girls were barely in their early twenties but someone in the crowd said they were all married. Girls here marry by their 15th birthdays, he said. A few minutes later, the girls were told to march into a hut where they would spend the next three weeks healing from the mutilation. But they did not march; they staggered. The eight are part of over 120 girls who have been mutilated in Sebei region since the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) season kicked off in Sebei in eastern Uganda.