I wasn’t sure of how to write about the topics I felt strongly about this week. So I am glad I read Miss Nsatu’s post to give me a little more direction on how to go about this.
As an advocate, I don’t have to have gone through the issues that light a fire and make me think of how I contribute to the solution.
Will that fact water down some of the points I put across? Or give me the clarity of an unbiased third party (if that can even be a thing)?
Isn’t it easier though, with the excuses we surround ourselves with, to not speak out on something? After all, it does not really affect you and if you could tint your eye lenses, you would never have to deal with, let them deal with it.
My doubts were further deepened when, reading 100 Days of Sunlight by Abbie Emmons, I came across the line ‘I’d rather hear a speech from a kid who’s been dragged through the mud than a kid who’d read about it online.’ I wondered if that was also the position of my audience which would come out and raise fists and say ‘you don’t know what you are talking about’.
Which is very true. I don’t.
But there must be a place for empathy, right?! The recognition that ‘there, but for the grace of God, go I.’
The two topics that lie heavy on my heart are infertility and illiteracy.
I want to acknowledge now that in four short days I won’t do them justice, especially the first one. It is true that I have interacted with people who walk through both but there are some experiences that no words are enough for. How do a few carefully worded lines capture desire and longing? Or talk of how society drew some circles and left them standing on the outside looking in?
I think, despite the strides we are taking, the conservative African community still does not react well to infertility. Like there is something wholly incomplete about you if you don’t have (child)ren by your second wedding anniversary. As though their assumptions are not misplaced already, they always find fault with the woman even though it takes two to make a child. I mean there is walking through pain, especially pain you would rather keep private, and then its all made worse when the world knows and keeps shoving its solutions in your face.
Where’s the balance between concerned conversation and unsolicited verbiage?
The hope for this week is to inform some callous statements that are probably made mostly in ignorance. (I’ll give the world the benefit of doubt). Or just a blatant disregard for facts. That there are some statements that are not helpful as people walk through their own hurdles.
I remember reading that when you come across a couple with no children, rather than asking insensitive questions (because they will be insensitive, unless they bring you into their confidence) it is best to assume that children are just not in the picture for them. Because it gets tiring having to field those questions at every family gathering and other social event especially when the people asking won’t be there in the thick of it.
The concept of the learned and unlearned is not new. There is always more weight in status attributed to those who went to school. If you made it to university even better. But as some memes will tell you, education doesn’t always tally to knowledge and understanding. Yet, those who are deemed unlearned because they can’t read and write, mostly this is in relation to the national language, are continually looked down upon. I know the Afrobloggers Community has discussed how we have romanticised Western languages over our own.
Just because they don’t use a language you prefer, does not mean they are stupid!
Yet, the world opens up to you when you can read and write, preferably in a very popular language. And you would like that – choices. To be able to decide with all the facts. Not to mention, reading and knowing the law for yourself and that ALWAYS saves you a lot of heartache down the road. You may never have to read or write anything but it is always better to have the option.
In fact for this one, I’ll quote Ecc.9:11 (any Bible readers in the house) on how favour is not always to the learned.
I know there are plenty of emotions and insecurity surrounding the two. In varying degrees, maybe, but very real to the people walking through them. So I will have two days to share on infertility and the other two on illiteracy. Hope you will read along all week.
The Challenge is picking up steam. This is day 5 and the start of the Advocacy week. Be sure to read the rest because there are so many topics out there. And in the age of the Internet of things, there is no good excuse for ignorance!