Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Campaigning for Girls' Education

Originally uploaded by mchughtie.
When Hoja's mother started having babies, she was all of fourteen. She tells me her husband is great because "he never beats me." She wakes up everyday and pounds rice, goes to the field, works in the garden, washes by hand, cooks, prays, and gets up to do it again the next day. Needless to say she cannot read, but has nonetheless acknowledged the value of education and sent her seven surviving children to school. I can't help wondering how she feels about it all, watching those daughters turn seventeen, eighteen, twenty without husbands, watching them leave the bent-over life of rice planting for clerical jobs and jeans. I wonder what goes through her head when Hoja comes to me with a question from her schoolwork, or to explain a word from the latest novel the girl is struggling through. I wonder if she feels left out, or if somehow her children should. I wonder what gets lost in the process of schooling a nation of girls whose mothers and grandmothers never knew a book from a stone, or the individual from the group.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Does the 20 minute login make the bloggin any sweeter?

I wanted Bubu to compose this blog, but she would only chew on the pen and stare at me, but still, holding the pen more or less correctly, as if to say, "I could, you know". If Bubu could write it, if she could think about anything beyond who to steal her next guava from, I think she wouldn't lament being ripped from a tree as a baby and thrust into the civilization of a village. I think she'd tell you she's glad to be a pet; she's getting fat, not Walmart fat, but monkey fat, a little round around the middle, and she gets loads more attention this way, leaving the quiet anonymity of the bush. She's the source and recipient of much amusement this way. It's hard to miss your home, she would say, the habits she used to know, but she's learned a lot sneaking her way between the homes of the unsuspecting objects of her study. She'll never fit in of course, her chatter doesn't register, but if she could find a way to express herself, imagine.