Challenges and prospects for girls

8 February 2012

Look at the difference between 13-year-old girls like Dora and 13-year-old girls in America. Look at their activities and the things they have to worry about. Girls here are up first thing in the morning cooking, cleaning, chopping firewood, washing clothes, feeding livestock, and caring for younger children. On top of that, they have to go to school and do homework. Some of them have to walk many kilometres to collect water and firewood. Between that and the lack of formal jobs available even for men and the social requirement of marriage and children, is it any wonder that most of them don’t finish secondary school? That’s only the equivalent of 10th grade, mind. Why would they? Where’s the incentive?

And so the whole focus and pace of life is different in places like this than at home. The things listed above take a long time, and are essential. There isn’t time for extras, except the occasional special celebration. Each day is similar, cooking, cleaning, feeding, etc. What do 13-year-old girls see in their futures? Do they picture a different lifestyle than the one they’re living now? Do any of us? Or do they, and we, just take for granted that this is life and will continue to be when they grow up? On the other hand, take Mr Mlay and Mr Sabbas, who grew up in windowless thatched huts. The now live in big concrete houses with refrigerators and TVs.  A huge change in just one generation, at least for some people. Will it change again that much for the next generation?

What’s frustrating me at the moment is that there are so many people in need, not on the other side of the world, but right here where I’m living, and I’m just sitting around my house not helping them…

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