Dancing Skeletons - Life Book Report

Pages: 7 (2514 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Family and Marriage

How does kwashiorkor develop, and why?

This form of malnutrition is related to a protein-deficient but high-calorie diet. In Mali, the staple foods are relatively high in protein and high-calorie foods are not commonly eaten. However, when children are weaned at around age 2 or 3 they lose the protein from their mother's milk and can develop kwashiorkor.

Do you think it may make sense to have as many children as possible sometimes?

In Mali, children earn money for their families. The more children a family have, the more money comes in and the easier it is to feed all members of a family. Many children are also lost to disease or malnutrition, so it makes sense to Malians to have large families. In the industrialised countries, only adults provide income for families and in this case large families simply mean more mouths to feed.

What is the Kafoune look? What may cause it?

The Kafoune look refers to a child the author met during her research. Children like her have bulging foreheads, their eyes are too far apart and the bridge of the nose is flattened. They also have an overbite. In the author's experience, children with this appearance are survivors of severe malnutrition in infancy.

Why did the people of Dogo have such bad teeth?

In Merediela, the author saw adults with dental problems including multiple cavities, exposed roots and draining abscesses. She attributes this to the people in that area not using tooth cleaning sticks as people in Magnambougou do.

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How do the Bambara justify saving the best food for elders?

Bakary is surprised when the author gives her daughter chicken meat to share with her. He insists that children do not appreciate good food and have not worked hard for it. In rural areas, children are given staple foods rather than meat or vegetables and "good food" is reserved for elders who have worked to earn food and "are going to die soon" (95). In Magnambougou, however, children are encouraged to choose for themselves what to eat.

How was Abi, and how did her parents feel about her condition?

Book Report on Dancing Skeletons - Life and Assignment

Abi was a child who came to be measured in N'tenkoni. Miranda Dettwyler recognised her as a child with Down syndrome. Abi's father said; "She's like the other kids, except she doesn't talk. She's always happy. She never cries. We know she can hear, because she does what we tell her to" (97) and is surprised by the author's interest in his daughter. Her parents accept her condition.

How did the author know the villagers of Famabougou practiced clan exogeny?

The author knew clan exogeny was practiced in Famabougou because there were two family surnames - Thiero and Keminaani - and members of these families married someone from the other family.

How did the author recognise malnutrition in adults and children?

Clues such as visible ribs or enlarged knees and elbows compared to the rest of the arms or legs show malnutrition. In less malnourished children, lack of growth reveals poor nutrition. A boy who seemed to be a healthy 3-year-old was recognised as about age 6 when Dettwyler looked at his teeth (104). In rural areas, malnutrition in adults could be seen from their lack of height compared to adults in urban areas.

How do the traditional Bambara people view hunting and how is this changing?

Hunters are traditionally viewed as keepers of secret, sacred knowledge about the bush and the spirits of animals. Factors such as environmental change, new laws, population growth, Islam and the expansion of agriculture were changing this. The author describes the hunter Bilo Bassan as the "last of a dying breed" (106).

Why did the author refuse to join the villagers for food?

Dettwyler refused a meal in Famabougou because the food had been out in the hot sun all day and would be full of bacteria. She was also annoyed the chief had known in advance that her group would not need food while in his village.

How is labor traditionally divided between men and women in Bambara society?

Women traditionally perform all household duties and childcare, as well as being responsible for harvesting and processing karite nuts. Men in rural areas harvested the crops other than karite. Men also take on cloth weaving and sewing and only cook for wages.

Why were there tunnels in the millet fields?

The tunnels in the millet fields were used as hiding places when fighting took place between different villages. An elderly guide told Steven Dettwyler and Tom Kane about this time in his village's history (121).

Why do adolescent girls have larger upper arms than boys?

Adolescent girls have larger upper arms than boys because they take part in the processing of karite nuts into karite (shea) butter alongside the adult women. The process involves several different sessions of pounding the nuts and boiling and skimming off impurities, as well as forming the final product into balls of solid fat.

How did the Magnambougou school differ from schools in the U.S.A.

In Magnambougou, school children all wear a uniform and bring their own desks or share with others. There is also no school cafeteria. In early schooling, there tend to be as many girls as boys, whereas later in schooling girls drop out of education to help with domestic duties. Schooling in the U.S.A. is compulsory for both boys and girls - uniforms are also not common, and schools have cafeterias and smaller less crowded class sizes.

Why did Miranda get malaria?

Miranda got malaria because she was infected by a strain of parasites resistant to both chloroquine and paludrine, so was only given an IV drip of Quinimax after almost a week, as well as rehydration therapy.

Why doesn't the author equally admire Malian women and men?

The author seems to admire the amount of work Malian women do compared to Malian men. However, this could be seen as resulting from her focus on women and child rearing in her two studies in Mali.


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