“Family-Kenya” by Toril Brekke

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1. The report “Family-Kenya” written by Toril Brekke describes the author’s visit to Kenya. She learns the local culture and women’s life, expresses her thoughts and hopes regarding them. From the report, the reader learns that the life of women in Africa is not easy. The men there usually have several wives and want each of them to give birth to as many children as she can, because the more children men in Africa have, the more proud they are. At the same time, the majority of men do not have an opportunity to earn enough money for such a big family and that is why the living conditions are very poor. Of course, some families are quite happy and have everything they want. In some families, wives of one husband are the best friends and they do not see anything wrong in polygamy.

Another issue in African women’s life is disrespect: if the woman is poor, sick, divorced, or if she complains, she is considered a bad woman and no one wants to know her and, what is more, to have her as a wife.

2. While reading the report, I felt regret and sympathy and, of course, some questions about Kenyan women appeared in my mind. Personally, I want to ask whether they experience such feelings as I do. Do they regret something? Do all of them feel that something is wrong? What do they do in order to change something? Is a situation there the same today? Finally, I have a question that author puts in the report herself: do the women, who suffer from any of the listed above problems, cry?

3. In my way of thinking, the given report is judgmental and it makes us be lost in thought about the relationship between men and women. The attitude to marriage and women in Africa leaves much space to perfection and Toril Brekke emphasizes that something there is not right, that something has to be done. At the same time, Kenyan women get used to such an attitude and this is the worst thing about the problem.

4. The author tries to compare Westerner’s attitude to women and relationship in general. It is written in the report that European women feel more freedom but at the same time, it is hard to compare because these people are limited with the monogamy. That is why men and women cheat, divorce, and marry again. It is understood, that the European culture is more respectful to women but still one may find some problems of our society which are absent in Africa or those which are common to people all over the world.  

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