there is an amazing television series that was created by 'national geographic' in partnership with 'nature' called: 'africa: '54 countries, 1,000 languages, 797 million people'.  it is a multi-part series, exploring the diversity of the continent-- in natural and human terms-- and it is both beautifully filmed and beautifully written.

i have been using 'africa' for years in my classes-- teaching students in the u.s. about people in africa-- about people living in enormous cities who have no more seen a lion outside a zoo than i have, and about people living in the bush who have to walk four days to get to the nearest town-- but who live the way that they do by tradition and by choice-- and who still follow world politics as i do.  my goal is for my students to connect to people and their stories.

the first episode in the series profiles a woman in rural east africa who lives in the bush with her children, her husband, and her husband's relatives-- four days walk to the nearest city. she spends long periods without her husband, as do all the women in her community, while her husband is out in the bush hunting and gathering food for the village.  unlike the women around her, however, who are dorobo-- she is not from this part of africa.  she is college educated, and shows us photos of her life before her marriage-- her clothing is what any professional urban woman in new york city would wear, her hairstyle-- urban, her surroundings-- city high rises.  she begins the episode debating whether to go 'home' to the city-- to her family. she has not seen her mother for 12 years-- not since she met her husband at a conference and decided to marry and move to the bush.  she decides she must go home to see what is there for her.  leaving her children to be cared for by neighbors, she walks up a narrow path towards the city--  days later she arrives, tired and obviously a little disoriented, to find her mother and sisters at home.  they laugh as she tells stories of building her own mud house-- about how she built the door too low so she bumps her head going in and out.  she debates going to fetch her children and staying in the city.  but after a few days she ultimately decides she is no longer that urban professional woman she once was-- she is now dorobo, and she lives in the bush.  and her mud house is not just where her children are-- it is her home.

we all need a sense of home-- a certainty about who we are and that where we are is where we are meant to be.


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