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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Like a fish needs a bicycle

posted by bitchphd
If you haven't already seen the stories of the Kenyan women who started their own village, I suggest checking them out. Simultaneously quite cheering--yay feminist independence!--and sobering; of course, the men are determined to put an end to these uppity women living on their own terms.

Ten years ago, a group of women established the village of Umoja, which means unity in Swahili, on an unwanted field of dry grasslands. The women said they had been raped and, as a result, abandoned by their husbands, who claimed they had shamed their community.

Stung by the treatment, Lolosoli, a charismatic and self-assured woman with a crown of puffy dark hair, decided no men would be allowed to live in their circular village of mud-and-dung huts.

In an act of spite, the men of her tribe started their own village across the way, often monitoring activities in Umoja and spying on their female counterparts. . . .

About three dozen women live here and run a cultural center and camping site for tourists visiting the adjacent Samburu National Reserve. Umoja has flourished, eventually attracting so many women seeking help that they even hired men to haul firewood, traditionally women's work.

The men in the rival village also attempted to build a tourist and cultural center, but were not very successful. . . .

"She's questioning our very culture," Lesinik said in an interview at a bar on a sweltering afternoon. "This seems to be the thing in these modern times. Troublemaking ladies like Rebecca."
Nothing says "troublemaker" like a woman (or group of women) who simply want to be left alone.

Here's a less optimistic article on the same story, from the Telegraph:
Gangs a dozen strong have mounted daytime raids through the thorn fence circling the village, chasing the women into the bush, beating them with clubs and threatening to torch their stick-and-dung homes.

"We do not have peace in the village now. These men are so angry because we have money and we do not give them any," said Rebecca Lolosoli, 43, Umoja's de facto chief and one of its founders.

"We ran away first because we were being beaten and now we are trying to change our lives, we are being beaten again because of how we are doing well."
It's stories like this that tempt one to swear off men forever. What assholes.
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