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Bundles of Creativity

Imagine you are pregnant for the first time. You are excited. You’ve been trying to have a baby for a while now. Overall, you just want a smooth, uncomplicated pregnancy, however, deep inside you hope that the baby is a girl or a boy. Why do you hope that she is a girl or hope that he is a boy? 

That is the first question we asked the community when we conducted our gender workshop in churches. We ask the people to share what if they want a boy or girl and why. Some of the community members shared that they want a boy. This way, the boy can grow, go to school and get a good job so that he can provide financially for the family. Others comment that they would like a girl. A girl is compassionate and will take care of them when they get old or sick. The girl could help the mother around the house with household chores; she would be able to help draw water from the borehole and cook for the family. No matter how many villages we go to, this is the typical response.

What about you? Why do you want a boy or girl?

The feedback from the communities reveal what people believe about gender and gender roles. We probe and ask why they think a girl cannot secure a good job and provide financially for the family; or why a boy cannot draw water from a borehole or help with cooking. Does helping in the kitchen make a boy less of a boy? Why is drawing water from a borehole a girl’s job? Is there something in the genetic makeup of a girl that prevents her from obtaining a good job and providing for the family financially? Is there something about the physical attributes of a girl or boy that allows them to do better in school- is that why there are more boys attending school? 

As the community wrestle with these questions, they realize that gender roles are a man-made construct. When parents raise their children according to those beliefs, they actually limit what their children can achieve. For example, when there are limited financial resources in the house and only one child can go to school, if the family decides that the son is sent to school because he is a boy, it means that the daughter’s future has been limited due to her sex. When boys are encouraged to go out and play; when they are encouraged to use their imagination to build things; at the same time girls are kept back at the home or asked to help their mom to clean and cook, the girl’s future has been limited. When we limit children because of their biological attributes, we are committing an injustice. 

God created all of us in his image; both men and women. As he is creative; he has given all of us that creativity. Let us not limit the artist in all of us, but instead do what we can to encourage that reflection of God. Let us use our time, skills and talents to encourage and provide opportunities to children, especially those from at risk communities, to encounter different forms of expressions of their creativity. Let us cultivate the gifts and talents God has placed in us.

Photos provided by the author.


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