Tuesday, August 10, 2010

July 30, 2010: Carla's Final Blog: The Feminine Fabric

This is a hard one to write. As I take a break from my packing with my mind on the next phase of my adventure I can't help but try to synthesize all that has happened in the last two weeks. In a few hours I will be in Cape Town in relative luxury, where life will no doubt be simpler for me. I will be able to buy what I need, when I need it. I'll be able to eat in fine restaurants if I want. I'll partake in activities if only for pure hedonistic reasons. But, I won't be doing these things without a very different perspective. The wonderful Swazis that I will be leaving behind will forever be weaved into my moral fabric. I am a much more well-rounded global citizen because of them and their plight.

I tend to worry a bit, usually a little about lots of different things. I'll worry about my Swazi community when I leave. I'll worry about the men who, bless their hearts, carry the burden of trying to thrive and provide for their families in a country where very few opportunities present themselves. I'll worry about the beautiful children who are so full of song, smiles and laughter. And I'll worry about the feminine fabric of this country. Like many women around this world living in a male dominated society, Swazi women live very traditional female roles.

I have had many Swazi women approach me and have wanted me to marry their brothers, wish I find a good husband to “take care of me,” and swoon over the thought of marrying a Canadian man. When I stated my tenacity in maintaining my female independence I got very strange looks. They questioned me, which I liked. I explained how many independent females in Western countries approach traditional roles and their jaws dropped. I know most of these women might have no choice when it comes to a traditional female life in a male dominated culture...women do what they need to do to survive. I get it. However, it was interesting to witness the wheels turning and answer questions on how exactly it is possible for a woman to support herself.

The feminine fabric that weaves around this world needs to be strong. It needs to send a very loud and clear message to both sexes that the ultimate success and standard of living of a country is directly related to the status of women.

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