By Megan Borsuk
Jinja, Uganda– Today is our 13th day in country. It appears as a group we have recovered from jet lag and finally have our days straight. I think some of us are sleeping through the night – even with the roosters crowing, all night church sermons, the morning call to prayer, and dogs fighting. We have become accustomed to 4:00 pm teatime. I think many of us would like to continue to have afternoon teatime in the USA.
This morning we visited Holy Cross Senior Secondary School. I was able to speak with students from S-5 and S-6. The students were between 18-20 years. The conversation focused on family and gender rights. The students were shocked to hear that in America the man’s family did not have to pay a bride-price for the women in marriage. One young man responded, “What is the point of producing a girl if the parents do not get anything for her?”
My reaction was filled with many emotions; at first I was appalled and offended. I took a breath and looked around the room. All of the students were looking to me for answer. While the question to me was outrageous, the question made sense to both the young women and young men.
I may not have agreed with some of the statements and ideas about gender and parenting but I was able to take the opportunity to ask more questions and gain a clearer insight into the Ugandan student perspective. The students also gave me the opportunity to explain my position. This interaction challenged both of us to rethink what we know to be truth. I encourage everyone to push himself or herself to have exchanges like this.
Shake up what you know, or rather what you think you know!