So the day after International Women’s Day, I walked into down and saw virtually no one during the 30-minute walk, and then during the last three minutes, I passed a guy and he said, “what did you get for me?” I gave him a dirty look and walked away. Then I got to la mairie (the mayor’s office/community center) and saw a guy that is usually really nice and cool. The first thing he asked me was also, “what do you have for me?” Now, still kind of annoyed from the guy in passing just before, I decided to talk this one out.
Starting out, I was just giving him a hard time about asking me for things, but then before you know it, I found myself in this conversation where this guy along with one other are telling me how I need to find a husband here and that women are meant to prepare food. I was all the rage and thought, “this conversation cannot actually be happening.” oh wait, it absolutely is.
I rebutted back that women do so much but are not being respected here. I work here for free and people don’t respect me, calling me names and asking me for things. The guys just kept going on about how men provide and that I need to find a good husband here. So I said, “it’s 10am, what are you doing here not working?”
Then I started asking what it is that men actually provide, and I am not joking, this is what he said, “we make babies”. SERIOUSLY? It was absolutely the most absurd conversation I’ve ever had. They make babies? The last time I check, all that is required of men in the “baby-making process” is have sex, which as far as I know, isn’t hard work for them.
I had to end the conversation rather abruptly to prevent myself from screaming his head off in bad French. Thankfully, I went upstairs to the Mayor’s office and the secretary-general was super helpful in getting a team of men to set up the classroom I needed for tomorrow. Thank goodness all men don’t just “make babies”.
Speaking of my class, the enrollment for this village business class is 28 as of this afternoon! I am so beyond surprised. In the beginning, I was afraid I wouldn’t get even 10 and terrified that I’d have to cancel the class. Suppose all that walking around town talking/begging of people worked quite well! Really looking forward to starting this class, albeit slightly nervous about doing it in French. I don’t know if I would be good at it even in English! Roll with the flow, I guess.
One last bit of news: I recently joined Twitter and in the beginning, I thought it was kind of silly. However, it has connected me to a network of people I would never otherwise met and gotten great ideas about projects. Also, to expose this blog to a wide range of new readers. A guy I was following on Twitter wanted to interview me after reading my blog, and here are the interviews in English and French!
I am discovering the power of social media and learning more to use this new tool to my advantage in the future. For a while I was feeling somewhat guilty about having Internet at my house, seeming too “posh” for Peace Corps. However, I never do anything the conventional way, so of course, I am not going to be a volunteer the traditional way, being stuck in a village, completely cut off from the world. Instead, I’ll be the volunteer that is so connected to the world that more people can actually learn about life au village!