Posted by: kristinej | May 17, 2010

May 17th

An exciting thing happened to me the other day: a Malian said that I eat very well with my hands.  Considering how much my host family laughed at me when I first got here, I consider this a very good compliment.  Granted, I’m still not perfect (some sauces are definitely harder than others), but I have far less rice landing on my feet, falling down my bra, or sticking to my elbow.

The first session of our education classes is coming to an end, which is hard to believe since it seems like they were just starting.  The themes that our participants covered over the past four months included human rights, democracy, and problem resolution, and I’ve had conversations with a number of people about what they’ve learned or what changes the classes have prompted in their lives or their communities.  Here are a couple:

– Several participants have told me that learning about the rights of the child was really important to them because before they had made their kids do chores that were too hard for them, like taking the hand push cart to go fetch water.  Now they realize that kids shouldn’t be made to do hard physical labor like that.  Additionally, they now realize that kids are people too who have their own opinions and intelligence, and so they spend more time sitting and chatting with them and less time yelling at them.

– Others have said that learning about religious tolerance was important because as Muslims they had avoided interacting with Christians, but now they don’t have a problem hanging out and talking with them.

– In another instance, 2 wives (to the same husband) appparently wouldn’t even talk to each other before the classes started, and now they walk to class together and get along much better.

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