Essay about Dancing Skeletons: Life and Death in West Africa

1383 Words May 15th, 2013 6 Pages
Anita Grooms
Anthro 110
T-TH: 9:30am-10:45am
Dr. Anderson
3-7-13

The United States is known for the “American Dream”, the material items, our breakthroughs in medicine, our employment opportunities, etc. These are just some of the things the United States has to offer, but the United States also has a downfall to all of the “good” things in life: we think our way of life is better than everyone else’s, and we often judge other countries, especially Africa, for their way of living. We often ask the questions, “What if we go to help them?” or “How can we help them?” when the real question is: “What can we learn from them”? Dancing Skeletons: Life and Death in West Africa is a non-fiction book written by Katherine Dettwyler, who
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A huge part of the economics of the people of Mali is the Grande Marché in downtown Bamako. Basically, the Grande Marche is just a big market, where venders of all variety came to sell their goods. Another thing that plays a big part in the economics of Mali is the no-fixed rates on items. Unlike the United States where everything is not negotiable, in Mali, everything is and is encouraged, unless you’re a tourist without any background on the culture of Mali (Dettwyler 1994: 55). With Mali’s economics very different from ours in America, family size and gender ideas also are very different than ours. Family size in Mali is very important; it is not considered a burden like in the United States where a couple of children is common. In Mali, it is common for women to have six to eight children by the time they are considered “old”. In the United States, the more children you have, the more you have to provide for, but in Mali, the more children you have measures a man’s status and success, and that’s for each of his wives. The more children you have not only provide those two things, but increases the income of a family because children in Mali, at a young age, may start to work to provide for their mothers and younger siblings. Unlike in a western society, the wealth flows up in a third world country. In Mali, a man is prosperous when he has a house full of children, and grandchildren who honor him, work for him and support him in his old

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