Monday, March 26, 2007

Bone to pick

Last Sunday afternoon, the girls and I visited the library. It was a lovely trip and everyone was in prime library mode. No one ran off down an aisle unseen by me, no one cried about coming, going or having to stay for longer/shorter than she wanted and everyone located plenty of books, puzzles and dvds to make them happy.
One of the dvds we brought home was an educational video about Africa (part of a larger series in the Discovery school geography series) called Africa Today. As is typical for the Discovery channel programs, the quality of the filming is exquisite and the information is, well, not as good as the filming...
Here's my beef-the Ethiopia segment, which was only about 2-3 minutes long (the same as the rest of the country segments), focused ONLY on the life of an 11 year old girl in a rural Ethiopian farming community. That's it. Where were the pictures of Addis? of the coffee shops brewing up macchiatos? of the internet cafes? of the universities filled with anthropological gems? of the international flavor in a city of over 5 million people? It was unfortuntate that as good as the Discovery program was trying to be, it did a disservice to the students watching, whose brief exposure to Ethiopia was limited to two minutes of water retrieval, farmwork and woe. To be sure, much of Ethiopia is farmed and is rural, but amidst this beautiful, ancient land is a glimmer of the modern world that is also a part of this country's story.

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