Many times I have felt like I end up taking on a preachy tone when I say “Well, in America, we are successful because men and women work together” or “In America, my dad and my boyfriend and my brother help with cooking and cleaning” or “Yes, we also have poor and starving people in America.” America, for many foreigners conjures images of endless opportunity and unimaginable wealth. While it is true that the wealth of even some of the poorest in America is beyond the comprehension of my Malian friends, I often feel like I can’t really convey what I want Malians to understand about life in America. I usually use American examples to show men that they shouldn’t oppress their wives and daughters, or to demonstrate the differences in labor and work. (The fact that I’ve had a job to earn my own money since I was sixteen is sometimes incomprehensible to Malians- even if it was rollerskating around and serving fat people tater tots). These conversations can be overwhelming. I also get the impression that I lack the appropriate tact at this point in my language learning to use this information as a teaching tool rather than something to shame or amaze Malians. That is why sometimes, it is easier to achieve Goal 2 with nailpolish.
|They only paint their left hands because they do everything with their right hands, the “clean” hand.|
|I let them paint my left hand, which is why I’m sporting neon red, royal blue, yellow, peach, and orange. Only in Mali!|