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Reisverslag Makeni: Salaams, safely back
9 augustus 2007
Makeni: Salaams, safely back
I am back in NL. The ride home was a very bumpy and tiring one because we had to pass through Abidjan.
I am back with a bag full of fieldnotes and documents and a heavy jetleg! I have been resting since yesterday.
SL was in one sentence a lifetime experience. Its shocking what war and devastation can do to a country and to people; the absence of power supply, the whole infrastructure has tumbled own and there is much hidden poverty. Despite this and many other challenges the spirit of SL people is one of great admiration and i have been blessed to have experienced it from up close. SL people are the most friendly and most helpful people i have ever met.
I remain forever indepted to all those who ensured a safe and productive stay for me.
In one month i have been to 3 towns; Freetown, Bo and Makeni. I have also gathered data from Kenema. I have been trying to understand, among others, how people perceive "culture" and how that culture relates to violence. As a Cultural Anthropologist, i was aware of the ambiquity of this concept but i feel confident i have significant data and material that will make us better comprehend that link.
I have looked at customs, harmful cultural practices (that women from birth till death must face), language (proverbs and sayings that contribute to gender inequality e.g "a hen doesnt crow"), gendered stereotypes (women can not make wise decisions because they are like children), traditions, customary law (i have interviewed some chiefs- men and women & how domestic conflicts are resolved), the family institution (how conflict is resolved), marriage (bride-price; polygamous households and the violence they cause between co-wives and children from different mothers), the role of religion (Islam, Christianity and Traditional religions), gendered superstitions and beliefs, food and gender, sugar-daddy-mistress phenomenon, and many other dimensions of how hindering and oppresive culture has been defined to be and what is actually comprises of in the case of SL.
I used focus group discussions and interviews as tools to gather data. The differences in the 4 towns are huge in some aspects but there are also some similarities. Many women came and shared their personal and professional expereinces in all of the workshops to share how their human rights have been violated because the culture says so. Eg a woman in the Makeni workshop shared how she publicly had to "call name", was beaten and later divorced because her husband and mother-in-law suspected her of having a boyfriend beacuse her 7-month old baby was having diarhoea and was vomiting. Calling name comprises of standing in public and admitting you have cheated with so and so, even if you are innocent. That so and so person will be punished accordingly, even he/she is innocent. Another woman was accused of being a witch because she had delayed labour and was beaten till she miscarried. And so the list goes on.
I will post some pictures later this week.
9 augustus 2007 12:15 | Door: Hans Rohlof
Kijk ook even in de NRC van afgelopen zaterdag 4 augustus: een verslag uit Sierra Leone. Eventueel kan ik het opsturen!
9 augustus 2007 12:17 | Door: Georgina from Makeni
thank you for coming to Makeni
it was very good to welcome you there
and your research will help us god willing. we need that
9 augustus 2007 12:21 | Door: Faisal
Welcome back macaanto..
9 augustus 2007 12:24 | Door: Abdirizack
hee Sahro, you reminded me of a class i took years back of Malinowski and the Trobrianders.
You are an amazing Somali Anthropologist...You did a lot in just one month!
Congrats and welcome back dear!
9 augustus 2007 12:27 | Door: Farhiyo A.
Wij zijn trots op jou.
Ik heb veel bewondering voor je...nou zeg!
Kom je morgen bij mij eten?
9 augustus 2007 12:37 | Door: Annamarie
I am glad too that you have taken this topic (is this for your MA or an assignment for Cordaid?) and done such an extensive research on this important topic. All over the world women go through socially approven atrocities in the name of Culture. I did some work on honour killings and wife burning and still dont understand its complexities.
I am interested in your recommendations.
How can we access your research findings?
9 augustus 2007 17:19 | Door: Jelle
A/s? hi sahro, what a fanstatic adventure,Iam amuse to see what you wrote through out you journey in Sierra Leone. Sahro i can,t describe feeling but as always we are very proud of you. job well done, i can only say have safe journey wherever you travell. God bless you and nice to hear from you
9 augustus 2007 17:20 | Door: farrah
Welcome back sis, I'm proud of you and the thing you do in your life, u know that that don't u? you are a great person sahro,we have allot to discuss and to catch up can't wait to hear all about Africa, will call you soon my dear,love you
10 augustus 2007 15:56 | Door: Mohamed
Thank you sahro for coming to sierra leone.I know it not easy but i belive you have got a lot of expirence in another Part of the world,God bless you for the effort and time and GOD bless all those that make you archive this endevour GOD bless.
13 augustus 2007 11:25 | Door: Helena
Ben blij dat alles goed gegaan is en dat je weer "tevreden" thuis bent.
13 augustus 2007 17:26 | Door: Jawrie
Wlc back Sahro. How are you? I hope well. When are you going to Somalia then? hehe
15 augustus 2007 19:24 | Door: Frans
Hi Sen ahro. Goed om te lezen dat je weer ok terug bent. En zo te horen met bevredigend en indrukwekkend resultaat. Heel benieuwd je te spreken over je ervaringen. Zie je 3 september.
20 augustus 2007 12:17 | Door: Marianne
Fijn dat je weer goed thuis gekomen bent. Wat een verhalen moet jij gehoord hebben en dat alles in 1 maand tijd! Ik ben onder de indruk en je doet me steeds weer versteld staan.
Binnenkort praten we een keer bij!
Hartelijke groeten en succes met de verwerking van je gegevens!
22 augustus 2007 19:45 | Door: Rooble
Wlc back Sah.
22 augustus 2007 19:46 | Door: Nancy Massaquoi
Good to learn that you arrived hme succesfully. Hope you enjoyed you stay and gathered all the information you needed.
How is your family? Guess they are fine.
Have a blessed weekend.
24 december 2007 14:43 | Door: Google
Hi it's http://www.google.com