Monday, August 04, 2008

Blogging like mad - I know. This is the first couple of quiet days I've had in a while and I'm both having more input because of doing things like reading blogs and watching TV and having more time to process input in writing. This entry is because I just watched a segment of a PBS series called China From The Inside that helped me realize how ignorant I a of the way people live all over the world. This segment about women in China, in combination with last night's Wide Angle segment on the training of midwife surgeons to fight the high rate of maternal and infant mortality in sub Saharan Africa really focuses me on the extreme privilege in my own life, even at times when money seems tight. These shows make me see the degree of difference between my life and most people in the world's lives more clearly than just reading words and numbers can. Sub Saharan Africa has 85% of the disease in the world and 2% of the doctors (or something close to that - imperfect memory) and one Chinese woman kills herself every four minutes - mostly women in the country side between sixteen and thirty five. A woman in the countryside is not asked if she is married, according to this show but "who her master is". My own little life has been so privileged - so sheltered. I really recommend the China From The Inside series. They seem to have amazing access. The women's segment showed both rural and urban life - the regimentation of factory life (which some young women were very pleased with as better than rural poverty and others found very stressful. To my western sensibility the crowding and regimentation in the cities would be very difficult as would the hard physical work and poverty of rural Chinese life. The topic of preference for boy children (and the abortion or abandonment of girls) was also addressed. The next segment will be on the environment.

4 comments:

Mary said...

This sounds like a very good series, especially now with China the site of the Olympics and in the news!

Ruth said...

I know more about SubSaharian Africa than I do about China--thanks for these tidbits. I'll try to learn more and check out that show

Peggy said...

I enjoyed catching up with all you blogs done since your return. I was without Internet for some days and it is good to feel more in touch with friends online again.
I had a similar experience to your thoughts when we traveled through rural China in 2005 and when I stayed in rural South Africa in 2006. There is so much of the world that we have so little real understanding about. And I am constantly restruck by how little I know of the history of some of these places. One gets so little on the news or in newspapers.

You'd think Afghanistan and Iraq were both mainly piles of brown dusty rubble with few trees. Little reflection of the long long history and cultural traditions of both areas.

We learned so little about China when I was in school and almost as little about Africa beyond slaves came from there.

So I guess there is plenty for all of us to get out there and start learning!

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