More Than A Survivor: An interview with Renee

Sahiyo understands that being a survivor of female genital cutting (FGC) is just one moment of your life and only one part of who you are as a person. Oftentimes, being labeled as a survivor can prevent people from seeing a person in any other context beyond survivorship.

Our campaign, #MoreThanASurvivor, explores our individuality and shows the world what makes us unique. After all, who we are is made up of all the moments in our lives, not just one.


Where do you live?

I live in Lanesboro, Minnesota.

Where’s the favorite place you have traveled to, lived in, or would like to visit? 

My favorite places that I have traveled to are New Zealand, Kenya, South Africa, Alaska and United States National Parks.

What are some of your passions?

I am passionate about ending female genital mutilation and racist policies in our country, as well as spending time with our grandchildren.

What does an average day look like for you?

An average day starts with a glass of cold water, a cup of tea, Nordic nut bread, hand exercises, yoga, a good breakfast including Aronia berries, weeding the garden or working on an art project, cooking vegetarian meals, reading books, bicycling five to fifteen miles on the bike trail, visiting a friend, and helping my husband with his projects.

What are some things you do for self-care?

My self-care regimen includes good nutrition, exercise, relaxation, philosophical discussions, walks in nature, regular bedtime and 8-9 hours sleep each night.

What are five words to describe you?

Five words to describe me: artistic, athletic, energetic, compassionate and curious.

What are your hobbies?

My hobbies include gardening, weaving, watercolor painting, knitting, jigsaw puzzles, and playing board games.

What is your profession or what career would you like to be in?

I am retired from my profession as a Patient Education Specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

As a little girl I herded cattle on horseback, and wanted to be a cowgirl all my life. As a teenager, I wanted to be a chemical engineer when I grew up.

What is your favorite food?

My favorite food is salmon, wild rice, kale salad and peach pie.

What is your proudest achievement? 

My proudest achievement was obtaining my doctoral degree in education and leadership.

What is a hidden talent that you possess?

A hidden talent that I possess is baking great bread and pies.

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