Here in the States, it’s election time. That glorious time of year when you can’t turn on the television or the radio or open your mailbox or drive down the street without being bombarded with all the VOTE FOR ME advertisements.
I hate this time of year.
The election signs make our neighborhood look trashy, the mail just gets tossed so it’s a waste of paper, and my Facebook timeline is filled with arguments about whose candidate is better for America (or Nevada, when it comes to local elections). People get mean. Vicious. And it makes everyone just seem ignorant.
It’s also the one time, every four years, when I’m forced to rethink my stance on everything. I question everything I believe in. And, I wonder, with how ill-informed I feel most of the time when it comes to politics, how will I ever be able to teach my child how to make his own decisions when it comes to our democratic process? (more…)
Yesterday, I found myself donning a hijab and touring the inside of a mosque in Mubende, Uganda. It was not my ordinary Friday afternoon as a stay-at-home mom in suburban New Jersey…
By invitation of the UN Foundation, I’m on an observatory trip to Uganda with the Shot@Life campaign delegation to take a first-hand look at UNICEF‘s programs in the country.
This past July UNICEF began bringing the medicine to the people, instead of trying to get the people to the medicine. They’ve had great progress in partnering with religious organizations to make this happen because 90% of Ugandans attend a church or mosque every week according to UNICEF.
So, our first Family and Child Health Day stop was at Mubende Town Mosque on Day Two.
I was 32-weeks pregnant with my son when we moved to Seoul from Seattle. When my spouse first got this assignment my knowledge of Korea was admittedly narrow, but because of all the research I had been doing on pregnancy and childbirth, the one bit of information that I did know was that Korea had an even higher rate of C-Section than the United States. The rate of c-section in the US is a staggering 30%, while here in South Korea it is an even more staggering 37.7%.
One of the things that is surprising about this number is that, in a study conducted in 2000, when polled, the majority of pregnant South Korean women said they prefer vaginal delivery. The study was done when the c-section rate was nearing 40% and researchers wanted to know if this rise had to do with women’s desires and attitudes towards childbirth. The study concluded that the rapid rise in C-section rates was related to health care practitioners and the health care system, not women’s attitudes or desires.
So, what’s happening? In a country that has skyrocketed to first world status in 50 short years, why aren’t women getting the medical care they desire?
Confucian ideals and principles lie at the heart of this rapidly modernizing society. They are the subtext to every interaction. The main principles of Confucianism can be very broadly summarized as:
- Follow the Golden Rule
- Be loyal to your family
- Respect your elders and superiors
- Worship your ancestors
- Know your role in society and fulfill it to the best of your ability
While I do not disagree in theory with all of these principles, their effects on this society have led to an inequity among men and women that, I believe, leads to difficult circumstances for women when it comes to birthing. Being loyal to family and respecting elders and superiors means being, if no longer submissive, at least deferential not only to the men in their lives but to anyone whose position in society is “higher” than theirs.
This week’s Saturday Sidebar Question comes from World Moms Blog writer Maman Aya. She asked our writers,
“At what age would you start to leave your child at home without supervision; how long would you leave them and where do you live (i.e. an apt in a busy city, a house in a busy suburb, on a farm, etc)?”
Check out what some of our World Moms had to say…
Picture courtesy of Alison Lee of Writing, Wishing
Hamakkomommy of Japan writes:
My only answer is not yet! My kids are seven and five. We live in an apartment in a large city. In Japan, it’s assumed that first grade is old enough to stay home alone or go about the neighborhood alone. Sometimes even younger kids are left home alone for short periods. Teachers leave the classroom during break times, etc. Even preschool teachers will leave the kids unattended for a minute or two. It’s very different from the attitude I grew up with!
“When we walked out of the airport, the smell of crisp wood burned air swept in the gentle breeze. We had made it to Uganda after almost a full day of traveling. We were excited to hear about Uganda’s health programs for children.”
This week, I am on a UN Foundation delegation to Uganda with the Shot@Life
campaign. Today was our first day on our mission, and my mind is already blown! We started our day (well, some of us started their days with breakfast, but my phone was still accidentally set for Amsterdam time, so I came at the last moment) by piling into a UN bus and heading to the UNICEF offices in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda.
We spent the morning and early afternoon in a meeting room type setting to be debriefed by UNICEF about Uganda and the programs they are working on for the health and safety of the children.
Let me tell you this. There are AMAZING people doing really interesting work for children’s interests here. Dr. Sharad Sapra is the UNICEF Country Representative for Uganda. Previously he had worked for UNICEF in NYC for 6 years, and then chose to take this assignment in Uganda. He spoke of the importance of the “4th screen”, the cell phone. He explained it was fourth to the movie, tv and computer screens. The ideas Mr. Sapra and his team have come up with to engage the people of Uganda are innovative. So innovative that they are now being incorporated in other countries.