Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Maasai captures crowd

with his voice on this video. Best artist from the display of Kenyan artists on Friday night. Read more with a few UBC business students who attended the event....

Monday, July 23, 2007

men do nail polish

While I am going through my field notes from my research this week, I am going to try to recollect some of the most interesting things spotted or experiences. For example, back in June, I interviewed a group of nine women in a hair salon about their mobile phone use and changes in their lives. During this time, I did notice something odd. While salons are usually separated for men and women (like our barbers and salons), there was a man doing nails for a young woman. Yes, I suppose if this was in Vancouver or in some super trendy salon, it would not be strange. But in the context, I asked my research assistant about it, and she said that he was actually not working at the salon. He was a hawker (people selling knick-knacks on the street) and men had picked up the job of doing manicure/pedicures in the area. If a salon does not offer the service, they walk through and do the job. I also noticed another man doing nails from a woman's home several days later.

So talking about gender equality, do nails become a gender-neutral (or is it in this case a male-dominated occupation?) job in rural Uganda? What other examples of jobs exemplified as women-dominated are now being taken on my men even in contexts that appear to be extremely gender-biased? A man carrying a baby on his back in East Africa or man being the "house help" (where the wife works and the man stays home)?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

am i shaking?

it's been a crazy few months. I just got back to Nairobi on Tuesday after spending almost 2 months in the field (rural Uganda and Kenya) collecting data for my study. But what's going on in Nairobi? Well for the last three days I have been feeling tremors from a nearby earthquake in Tanzania. It's kind of strange because I actually don't know what I would do. The first time I felt the movement, it was strong, the walls shook, I was on a Skype meeting and froze. The following night I put my passport in my wallet so if whatever may happen i'm ready to move. It's continuous: 5am, 10am. 5pm. 8:30pm. I sometimes don't know if I am shaking because of drinking too much coffee or coca cola or if it's just the continuity of the tremors. What next, Nairobi? Banning of plastic bags and no smoking in public areas? Oh, never mind. That happened as well while I was gone!

How about wild elephants walking around my Kenyan study area especially where the local women collect firewood to sell for their livelihoods? next story.