Class Reflection #6 – Education is Key

During the beginning of class this week, we Skyped with Tamarin to ask her some more questions about our service projects since the date for our departure is quickly approaching! Tamarin gave us all things to look into further which was very helpful. Unfortunately for Alison and I, we learned that the trees that need to be cut down in order to acquire Internet access have not been cut down, so we are at a standstill at this point in regards to the Internet. A little bit disappointing but useful information so we can base the remainder of our time around other things.

After we skyped with Tamarin, we watched the movie Yesterday, which was based in South Africa and provided an interesting half the skyperspective on women’s roles and rights in South Africa.

Watching this film after reading Half the Sky was useful as it served to further solidify the knowledge of what we had read. Namely, that women around the world are, generally, treated and believed to be inferior to their male counterparts. This inferiority is seen through the roles they play in society as well as how they are treated by the males in the community.

For example, in this film, Yesterday, the lead woman of the movie, was forced to take care of her daughter Beauty alone, as well as take care of the house and fields. The film documented her washing clothes, cooking, sowing the fieWomenlds, hiking to get water amongst many other things. What stands out however, is that she had to do this all on her own while her husband worked in the city and contributed little to the overall well being of the family. Ultimately, what this aspect of the film had me question most was, what are the roles of women in South Africa now?

Are women still required to do all these chores while the men leave home to work, but in reality contribute very little?

I am interested to observe the male/female dynamics while in South Africa after watching this film because at the moment I am questioning what positive attributes men contribute to society!

AIDS/HIVThe other aspect of the documentary that stood out to me was the role of HIV, more specifically, the effect cultural boundaries and lack of education have on the spread of diseases.

As we learned in class, HIV is very prominent in South Africa. This is an unfortunate fact considering that while it is not curable, HIV is a preventable and treatable disease. However, in order to prevent it, people need to be educated on what it is and how it is transmitted.

As we saw in the film, Yesterday showed shock and confusion while the doctor insinuated that the reason she was infected with HIV was due to her husband’s infidelity. This shock portrays our cultural differences. Yesterday was uneducated on how HIV is spread and therefore was unaware of the steps she could have taken to prevent herself from contracting this disease, namely the use of condoms.

UnknownSimilarly, her husband was also uneducated in this area as he contracted the disease and then continued to spread it on to his wife. Ultimately, had this culture been educated on proper preventative measures, they could have taken precautions.

I find it hard to blame someone for their actions when they have not been given the proper tools necessary to allow them to act otherwise. In the same sense, it’s hard for me to blame the people of South Africa for the rampant spread of HIV when their government has failed to provide them with the tools necessary to equip themselves against the disease.

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