03 March 2012

Fry His Face Off

Today I met with my favorite group of girls.  We were working on a play for the English club to perform when the Minister of Education comes to Motswakhumo in two weeks.  I brought some magazines and school supplies for them, and we ended up hanging out much longer than we worked.

What I love about spending time with small groups of students (especially chatty teen girls) is that it allows for us to share experiences, ideas and opinions.  We talked about discrimination, current events (...Beyonce and Jay-Z's new baby), stereotypes, overbearing parents, drug and alcohol abuse, peer pressure, and of course, boys.

The girls started talking about polygamy.  They didn't agree with the practice, claiming that they wouldn't want to "share" their husband.  I said that my problem with polygamy is that often men are allowed to take multiple wives, but women cannot take multiple husbands.  Tshireletso (the quietest girl, but who really says something when she speaks) agreed with me, saying that it is discrimination against women.

The mention of polygamy brought up the issue of multiple concurrent partnerships that happens extremely often in Botswana.  Judy, one of my new favorites, burst out in a very passionate monologue (please roll your "r"s when reading it in your head):

"If I find out that my husband is cheating on me, oh, I will tell you what I will do.  I will buy 2 litres of oil, and I will boil it, and I will frrrrrrrrry his face off!  Then when he goes to see that other women she will say, 'Ah-ah!  I cannot be with you looking like that.'  And he will come home to me and I will tell him, 'No one will ever love you like I do.  So don't cheat on me ever again.'"

Judy sat back with a smirk on her face as we all were laughing, then continued, "Yes, that is what I would do.  I would frrrry his face."

Obviously I can't condone violence to my protégées, but it was the funniest thing I've heard in quite awhile.

[The girls told me that apparently, throwing boiling water on a cheating husband is relatively common in Botswana.  If the husband then seeks justice at the kgotla (traditional court), they will basically tell him that he got what he deserved.  I've never heard of that before today though!]

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