Friday, March 27, 2009

The Proverbs 31 woman

I've been thinking about this topic for a while, and I figured I might as well start this conversation now.

For people who are not familiar with this topic, proverbs is a book in the Bible and Proverbs 31 is a tribute to a "virtuous" woman. This lady takes care of her family and her home, she works in the field, she trades.....she's really very great, and she's the standard that Christian women look or should look to. Why do I care and why is this even an issue? well, because over the past few years I've read, heard and even participated in conversations that try to hash out what being a good christian woman looks like. And this debate gets interesting when it comes to the issue of whether a mother should hold a paying job.

There's the camp that says that no respectable woman, particularly a christian one, should work outside her home. Her sole business is to be a devoted mother and wife and be there when her kids and husband come home. Then there's the other camp that says that women should work as many hours and as hard as men, and of course, should be compensated as well as men. Then there are camps that fall somewhere between these two.

Clearly, I dont believe that my sole purpose as a christian woman is to only be a devoted mother and wife. If that was true, I wouldn't be spending so much time, effort and money in school. Most of my friends are probably also in the same camp as I, so this is probably not the best place for this debate. That said, I really would like to hear more from people in the other camp and about how they think about these things and what their justifications are. It's clearly not an easy thing to be a working mother and wife, but several women do it with varying levels of success and satisfaction as they define it.

So, I think it'd also be interesting to hear how women currently/plan to navigate such issues and also get the male perspective on what work/family/life balance looks or should look like. So people, please comment and let the conversation flow. I really would love to read your views.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Annoying people who think Africa is a country

I was reading a blog that asked the question "what's your ideal mission trip", and can I just say how disgusted and annoyed I was by the many people who talked about "going to Africa to help AIDS orphans". Seriously. Like Africa is one big deserted country with poor AIDS orphans walking around who are all just waiting for the kind hearted American from wisconsin to come and save them from the perils of life!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is a bit of a rant because this issue really really really annoys me. I'm not saying that there aren't kid in some countries who have lost both parents to HIV and who are now in dire straits. And I'm not denying the incredibly large burden on disease and illness that many African countries bear. I'm not disputing the fact that there are people in some countries who are starving and whom may not know where their next meal is coming from. But really, this generalization is so so annoying!

I know that I'm fairly ignorant about a lot of places and a lot of things, but seriously, is some one really wants to go and save a few poor African kids, at least give them the curtesy of knowing which country they live in.

Ok. Rant done for now.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Yen ara y'asase ni

Who remembers the song "Ghana, my happy home" ?

I was so homesick in my first year of college that I sang that song aaah. I screeched it in my head papa (tr: I sang it a whole lot).

These days, I have a much better handle on my homesickness, so I dont have to comfort myself with the song which I actually never even sang in primary school (NRL deprived us of some small pleasures. But we'll live). However, my love affair with the land of my birth is still going strong.

I wont bore y'all with a whole long dissertation about what works or doesnt work in Ghana. Those can be for another post. But I want to wish the land of my birth, the nation which for better or worse has shaped me and all my other brothers and sisters, the country of people who entertain, encourage and annoy me etc etc etc

I just want to wish Ghana and her children a very very happy 52nd birthday.

And while we reflect on how far we've come/how far behind we still are, let us think about Ephraim Amu's "Yen ara y'asase ni" (tr: this is our own native land). The chorus reminds us that it is the character and behavior of its citizens that will determine whether or not we prosper. Not Yankee, not hipic, not ecowas, not AU- nah we noo wei we go do am.

(p.s. sorry to all non-akan readers/speakers. I dont have the translation for the song, and I cant translate all of it. )

Yɛn ara asaase ni
Ɛyɛ abɔdenden ma yɛn
Mogya a nananom hwie gu, nya de too hɔ maa yɛn
Aduru me ne wo nso so
Sɛ yɛbɛyɛ bi atoa so
Nimdeɛ ntraso nkotokrane ne apɛsɛmenkomenya
Ato yɛn bra mo dem na ye'sase ho do atɔm sɛ
Adi yɛn bra mu dɛm ama yen Asaase hɔ do atɔmu sɛ

Chorus 2x
Ɔman no sɛ ɛbɛ yɛ yie oo
Ɔman no se ɛnyɛ yie oo
Ɛyɛ sɛ na ɔsɛ, ɔmanfo bra na yɛnnkyerɛ

Monday, March 2, 2009

Slum dog millionnaire .........

A friend of mine wrote an entry on her blog on Slum Dog Millionnaire, and that inspired me to pick up this topic.

I watched Slum Dog Millionnaire this weekend, and I thought it was good. I dont know a whole lot about India, but the movie portrays scenes and events that I can totally see happening in Accra. It's a movie, and the likelyhood of everything working together the way it did is somewhat slim (I think), but I also think it could have been a realistic, if not necessarily flattering portrayal of a section of Mumbai.

We sometimes get offended and upset when we see the pictures of the poverty in Africa. But the fact is that many Africans live in abject poverty. Accra has about 2m people, and while there has been great development and progress in the city, there are still many many many people in the city who live in pretty bad conditions. If someone made a movie about that part of Accra, yes, I'd be very annoyed and offended, but it wouldn't change the fact that there are slums in the city, and life isnt fully comfortable and rosy for everyone.

I get annoyed when I see the images of a hungry child with a cracker and flies all over, and when some random caucasian holds the child's hand and asks the watching TV audience to donate $5 to feed this poor child. But maybe, instead of simplt boiling in my comfy seat behind the TV, I should do something about the poverty and hardship in my backyard. I cant save the world, but maybe I can help one child get better healthcare or better education or something.

I have to say though that the title of the movie is not at all flattering.....

Have you watched Slum Dog Millionnaire, and even if you haven't what do you think about the portrayal of povery in developing countries?