A Day in the Life of Catherine Bana
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A Day in the Life of Catherine Bana
Paringaux’s article “A Day in the Life of Catherine Bana,” is one that is both moving and informative. It’s description of the daily routine of a wife and mother from Balkoui shocks most American readers with the graphic reality of life in the impoverished nation. The article provides a vivid description of the geography of Sahel, the roles of males and females in this society, and the impact of recent international development.
The families of Burknina-Faso depend on agriculture as the main source of their meager incomes. The climate and other geographical factors virtually shape the life Catherine Bana. She spends her days tending to the livestock and crops. Millet, sorghum, and groundnut require large amounts of labor and care in order to produce the profit the family needs to survive. Twice a week, Catherine travels to the market to sell the fruits of her labor, along with some small crafts she has produced in her spare time. Further adding to the hardships her manual labor, the country suffers from a severe water shortage. When water is needed Catherine is forced to travel to the well to fetch water in jugs. This hot, humid, and dry climate is a harsh reality that the women of Balkoui must face each day.
Throughout the article the author reveals a distinctive difference in the traditional roles of women in America and in Balkoui. It is significant that Paringaux chooses to depict a “Day in the Life of Catherine Bana” instead of her husband. The author is sympathetic towards the tough existence of women in the African culture, and therefore focuses the article’s attention on their daily routines. Catherine and other women of the village are expected to bear an abundance of children to overcome the high infant mortality rate, as well as add to the work force. Despite a life expectancy of only 45 years, Catherine mothers six children. The women of Balkoui are not only expected to care for the children and complete other household chores, they are required to satisfy their husbands appetite for sexual activity and “dolo,” the drink of choice for the men of Balkoui. The author’s description of Catherine’s daily routine helps the reader to further understand the roles of men and women in the Burkina-Faso’s society.
Paringaux discusses the impoverished lifestyle of the poor country and its effect on natives, but the end of the article indicates an upward turn towards improvement. The village is beginning to emerge from its underdevelopment, thanks to help from foreign sources. Water pumps have been installed, and a school has been established. These new improvements are encouraging, but the country is still burdened with poverty. Hopefully, with the continued generosity of foreign nations and the Untied Nations, conditions in Balkoui will continue to improve.
After reading Paringuax’s article, the reader is more informed about the geography of the Sahel, the roles of men and women, and the impact of international development. Learning about the culture of this society helps the reader to understand the beliefs and behaviors of its inhabitants. Paringuax’s informative intent, paired with personal detail, help to establish this article as one that helps the reader to interpret
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Catherine, Burkina Faso, Bana, Sahel
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