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When Jess was in 3rd grade she had the bright idea of signing up for Viola lessons at school, which turned out not to be such a good idea after all.
She pretty much hated the viola, couldn't make a decent sound come out of it, couldn't really read the musical notes, and, because she grew her nails out, it made it almost impossible to make music with the thing. And the problem really, was that Jess refused to cut her nails - it was just something she wouldn't do, viola or not.
Her teacher was okay, about most things, but was always telling her to cut her nails and Jess was always refusing. The whole thing was a disaster really, and even though she begged her Mom to let her quit, for some reason, her mother had it in her head that Jess was going to be the next Beethoven and just wouldn't let her stop - for two years - until finally, in the fifth grade her Mom gave up the fight and said "fine, you can quit the viola." And she did, happily.
Now, fast forward to 8th grade, in tech glass, and Jess is sitting next to this mean girl who never liked her, who in fact always seemed to go out of her way to be mean to Jess. And she starts teasing Jess about why she quit the viola, essentially saying that she hear it was because Jess refused to cut her nails.
It wasn't that big a deal, really, but for some reason it really got under Jess' skin - where had this girl heard that, and why was she even talking about it. It turned out that it was Jess' old viola teacher who had been talking about it, essentially telling all of her little third grade music classes not to be like Jess from the eighth grade and to all keep their nails trimmed, or else they would end up like Jess - unable to play the viola.
Jess was so mad. She couldn't understand why this teacher, a grown woman, an adult, was telling lies about her to her classes, essentially spreading rumors that just weren't true. She imagined confronting the teacher, asking why, telling her to stop, yelling at her maybe, but ultimately she realized it wasn't really Jess' problem - it was the Teacher's. The teacher was using Jess, and this lie about her fingernails, to try to get the other kids to do what she wanted . Unfair? Yes. Weird? Yes. Childish? Definitely. But Jess let it go.
Well, maybe every once in awhile she still imagines heading back to elementary school to give that teacher a piece of her mind, but she doesn't let it bother her.
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Bullies and Mean People:
I swear some people should not be allowed to be teachers. I had one who was nice to nuerotypical students but as soon as a student with any sort of learning disorder was in her class she would bully them. I (a high functioning autistic) was bullied so badly that by the end of the year I was suicidal. Her husband was no different. He bullied a boy who was being wrongly medicated for adhd
Child marriages are common:
On a recent day, eight community elders sat in a [refugee] camp, some chewing khat, the narcotic leaf favored by most Yemeni men. Seven have married off their girls this year.
Even Salim, the elder who worked at the charity, is preparing to marry off his two daughters, ages 13 and 14. "I want to feel secure of their futures, if only for economic reasons," he said.
Mohammad Ali al-Ansi married off his two girls, ages 13 and 14, in April. "My heart is bleeding inside, but I was forced to do this," he said. "I have no job. Its difficult for me to feed my 10 children." He received $1,600 in dowry for each of his girls, he said. But after paying for their weddings and meeting other debts, the money has nearly run out. "If things get worse, theres no doubt Ill marry off my 12-year-old daughter," Ansi said.
More on Ansis 14-year-old daughter Fatma, married to 21-year-old Zaid:
Fatma spent her day cooking and washing clothes for her in-laws. When asked the name of her husbands family, Fatma didnt know it. She remembers her father telling her and her sister, Amal, that the family needed money. She remembers that Amal was in tears because her new husband was taking her to another region. The two sisters have not seen each other since their weddings.
"I am too young to be married," Fatma said. "I want to study. I want to learn how to write. I have sacrificed for my family," she continued, her voice dropping to a whisper.
Minutes later, her husband arrived at the tent, and Fatma went silent. He said Fatma was "at a good age to marry." When asked if she could attend school, he shook his head no. "Shes a little too old for school," he said.
Female sexual freedom among the Tuareg : Flora Drury has written up the sex habits of the Saharas Muslim Tuareg people based on the work by Henrietta Butler. Some excerpts:
Their men became known as the blue men of the Sahara because the dye from their distinctive indigo scarves rub off onto their faces giving them a mysterious air. The Tuareg evoke images of a long forgotten and romantic age.