Thursday, June 22, 2006

Mountain Voices

I just discovered this site courtesy of a fellow professor who teaches comtemporary world issues (I teach a section of the course too). The site is Mountain Voices. It contains a wealth of summary information from ten regions (mountainous regions) of the world as well as transcripts of interviews with a wide variety of local people from each region. Ethiopia is one of the regions covered. Since I have recently discovered . . . um, okay, become obsessed with the world of ethiopia adoption on-line, I was particularly fascinated with the section on the Ethiopian Highlands. Mountain Voices does a good job of illustrating the complexities of life in rural areas that are experiencing environmental and social stresses without either over-romanticizing "traditional" culture or dismissing its value. They are able to do this by relying on the voices of ordinary people in the region.
This project is part of Panos' Oral Testimony Programme, which aims to amplify the voices of those at the heart of development: people who are disadvantaged by poverty, gender, lack of education and other inequalities. Collecting and disseminating oral testimonies allows the least vocal and least powerful members of society to speak for themselves, rather than through outsiders or "experts".

And these "ordinary" voices are powerful!

Although international adoption is not mentioned, the detailed information about daily life, cultural change, marriage, agriculture, poverty and disease gave me some insight into the conditions that might lead children into orphanages and eventually international adoption.

I have not conducted research in any of the areas of the world covered by Mountain Voices but the voices they highlight "rang true" with my own experiences working with villagers in a marginal agricultural zones within a developing country. Mountain Voices is a great resource for students and anyone else eager for a glimpse of the dynamics and challenges of everyday life in distant regions of the world.

1 comment:

owlhaven said...

Great! Thanks for sharing this!!!!