Sudanese families are quite different from American families especially their expectation for their daughters. When a girl turns six years old and sometimes even younger they are taught to cook and clean and take of the younger children. When I came to this country in 2005, I already knew how to cook and clean and I did most of the cooking in my house fortunately my tutor was able convince my mother that if I was going to succeed in school, that I could not be responsible doing the cooking doing the week. It took her about three months to convince my mother, but I, in fact, was very lucky. My tutor was also working with another Sudanese girl my age that wasn’t so fortunate. All through junior high and high school, she has to do the cooking at home and most of the cleaning and child care another Sudanese girl I know rarely got to start her home work before mid night. When Sudanese say they can’t do this and do well in school they mother will answered I did it. What they don’t consider is that they only went to school until third or fourth grade. They weren’t trying to do regents courses. They only learned basic reading and arithmetic. Girls in their culture didn’t not need schooling they just need to learn cooking ,cleaning , and child care because they were accepted to marry at fourteen and fifteen years old.
Some American adults tell me that this was uncommon back in the nineteen century………..
Another way that Sudanese families are different is in the way that boys and girls are treated. Boys are usually free to do their own thing. If they want to play a sport, they just sign up to play. If they want to go and visit friends, they just go. Girls, on the other hand, are expected to be at home at all time when they are not in school. I was the first Sudanese girl to play a sport. But other Sudanese families looked on my parents for letting me play soccer and basketball, and run track. I was determined to break out of restrictive limits that Sudanese parents placed on their girls. I never directly argued with my parents about joining a team, I just did it, when they tried to tell me I couldn’t I challenged them to give me some good reasons why I couldn’t. If they argued that it would hurt my grades I reminded them that I had good grades. If they told me it took too much of my time, I told them that it was making use my time well. As soon I started sports, I stopped watching television. That’s how I found the extra time. As they presented arguments against my doing things, I presented arguments why it was a good thing.
Like other Sudanese girls, I wasn’t allowed to go visit friends ever. They were a lot of times…