If you’re a parent, or a child, or anyone, you may have heard the phrase. “It takes a village” (to raise a child). After reading a post written by a fellow contributor, KC, I remained in thought about this village that’s needed to raise our children.
KC is currently a stay-home-mum to a precious toddler, so you know she has one of the most rewarding and challenging positions in the universe; one weighted with a lot of responsibility, as well. Thankfully she takes the time to write about some of what’s going on in her world as a mum, a woman, and as a person, because out of her writing I found something I want to discuss, too. Check her out at http://www.mummyintransit.com. She is a really good writer, and she’s funny too.
In reading KC’s post I thought about my own experience as a child in Italy, a teenager in Tanzania, and an adult and parent in the United States. What was my village like? Who did my mum include in forming my personality and my worldview?
Recently, my boobs took a trip to Jordan. At least it seemed at the time that the rest of me was just along for the ride. Never had my cleavage gotten so much attention; never had it occupied my thoughts so completely.
Having lived in Morocco for almost a year, I thought I knew how to strike the proper balance….somewhere between my usual, US appropriate signature style and a more modest décolletage that I felt was an appropriate concession to my host country’s social norms.
This balance was clearly off-kilter for Jordan. My ensembles were getting more attention from the male Jordanian population than a Britney Spears get up. Given that I have been a little sensitive about my dwindling cup size since giving up nursing my son, I was momentarily flattered….before being sincerely uncomfortable and confused.
I knew in theory that one country in the Middle East or North Africa would not necessarily adhere to the same standards of dress for women as the next, just as various areas or social classes within Morocco dressed worlds apart. (more…)
Our “Casting a Wider Net” series features mothers around the world who’s voices have typically been excluded from the blogosphere, due to lack of access to computers or the internet, low literacy or poverty. This feature aims to include their important and distinct perspectives with interviews and occasional video clips.
Meet Wilkister. She’s a mother of seven children, including a remarkable two sets of twins, ranging from 7 to 18 years old. She lives in Western Kenya and tends a shamba (farm) of maize, cassava, millet and vegetables. She met her husband, a primary school teacher, when she traveled to his village to visit her sister who had married a relative of his. The marriage was sealed with a pride price, she moved in to his homestead and has become an important member of his extended family. Her relatives describe her as responsible, strong and hardworking.
Unlike many other women in her village, she graduated secondary school. She speaks four languages fluently and worked as a translator for me on a recent trip to her village. The following are some of Wilkister’s thoughts on marriage, family and life… (more…)
Photo by Elizabeth Atalay
It was too hot for October as I pushed the baby’s stroller towards the busy intersection, nervous about navigating the after school traffic.
As I approached the T junction, I could see a woman striking her arms out wildly from the driver’s seat of her car, stopped at the red light. She looked as though she was battling someone in the passenger seat with all the strength the confined space would allow.
I had been reading and thinking a lot about women and women’s rights in Morocco since my arrival a couple of weeks prior and in the split second it took me to walk from the trunk to beside the window, I had concluded she was an abused wife, fighting back.
Prone as I am to flights of fancy, I had her whole heroic back story firm in my mind as I walked level to the front window and realized that she was in fact landing punches on a boy; about 12 or 13 and looking utterly deflated as he half-heartedly held his arms up against his mother’s blows. (more…)