This post is sort of continuing on from the last one about the problems i experienced whilst in Nigeria. One of the most common and obvious problem was gender discrimination. There are cultural norms that indicate women and children should be in the kitchen and do all the housework that needs to be done. This was evident in my host home as the daughter of the house often 'worked' from 6am till night cooking, cleaning, sweeping and the rest. She also wasn't allowed out the house freely and if she did go out she would have to be back at home before dark. I often asked her, "doesn't it bother you that you cant stay out a late as the men" or "don't you get sick of working all day everyday when you could be going out and having fun?". She often answered by saying its no problem or its normal. For her, there was nothing strange about the situation. It upset me greatly that men had such control over women, but, for the locals it was just a cultural norm. The overall biggest problem for me was the lack of opportunities. This could be in the form of lack of healthcare, lack of education, lack of opportunity to progress with talents or lack of social mobility. In the area i was situated in, it seemed that there were no opportunities for anything that i described above. For example, if there was an exceptional footballer or singer, how would they be able to progress their talents? with lack of money and lack of support it seems it would be near impossible to make it. Lack of education is an extremely big issue due to it being a viscous cycle. If the children of this generation are inadequacy educated then they will in turn they will not have the knowledge to provide the future generations sufficient education. As for social mobility, it seems like its set in stone in the sense that if your parents are on low to no incomes and are living in poverty, there is an extremely high chance that you will be in that situation when your their age. This is also becoming a serious issue in western countries such as England and America as the rich are getting richer and the poor and getting poorer. The social mobility cycle is gradually having a stronger grip on the world as a whole. I think one thing the western world struggles to deliver when working in aid to third world countries is that third world countries don't just need money given to them, they need to be taught and educated in order for their community to learn off each other. This is something we tried to incorporate in our work as it was community led development rather than volunteer led development. Community led development, from our experience was extremely difficult as it was hard to mobilise the community and to get them to actively address problems in their society. Many of us felt our work over 3 months could have been done in half the time if the community actively participated more. Lack of communication was also a major issue and on some occasions we had to travel 30 minutes just to get some people in the community to talk to one another when they only lived 5 minute walk from one another. So it was often frustrating, but we were very pleased with the work we completed and feel our 3 months was a success. I will now post a couple of pictures showing what we achieved in the community.
Below: Cementing the classroom floor in Bendeghe
|Having to entertain this many children, what else can you do but do the ookie cookie!|
|Here is my famous speech about how to use a condom! the stick seemed to do the job!|
|After the 'Famous' talk the children wouldnt stop asking questions so we spent some extra time with them|
|After finishing a school library we had a big group photo with all the teachers and many of the children! it was such a pleasure interacting with the kids as they were always so happy!|