"informal" EDUCATION IS WEALTH - LESSONS FROM MY GRAND MOTHER

Juliet Acom
Posted July 18, 2018 from Uganda
My grandma in her signature traditional dress
I still learn something new each time I visit my 78 year old grandma-her stories are amazing and endless

When I look back at my childhood, I realise that the short holiday visits to my grandma's home in the TESO region of eastern Uganda gave me lessons that have made me who I am today. I am able to empower fellow women and communities because of the random musings she shared about life, reminders of how i should behave, working alongside her during her personal errands and household chores and even in the occasional rebuke she gave when i erred!

To think that the lessons I got from my illiterate grandma's kitchen have enabled me contribute to the millennium development goals may seem like a far fetched story but any child who got a chance to live in a typical rural Ugandan household can relate............Today I would like to share this with someone out there who never got an opportunity for informal education such as mine.

  1. Environmental Conservation: whenever you eat a fruit from a tree that grows big enough to give shade, carry it along with you to any place without a similar tree and put on the ground (soil) so that the people and animals there can get similar fruit and shade (this whenever I would eat a mango or tamarind). To date I find myself carrying random seeds from my travels to try and plant them.
  2. Menstrual Health: In her own words when she found out that I had become woman....."Juliet, You are now a woman,no human being or animal should ever see your sanitary towels. Do not discard them anywhere lest a dog sniff them and you will never have children!" (my 11year old self actually believed this, only years later did she tell me that it was for my own good). It is now important to bathe twice a day and if there is ever a scenario where this is impossible, reserve water to drink and wash your "women's parts and your under clothes"
  3. Food for All: Never go to bed belching while the person next door is starving ..........If they are too proud to take  hand outs, propose to them to cultivate your garden in exchange for food or money. And while they cultivate your garden join in! otherwise God will reduce your blessings.
  4. Economic Empowerment: A woman does not need only fancy clothes, jewelry, good food and a rich husband to make it in life. She needs to read all the books, to save money, to join a savings group, to learn a skill, to volunteer at a home for the needy and most of all to listen to her grand mother!!! Many times when my parents were faced with financial challenges especially concerning school fees or medical bills, my grandma would sell off her goats and some of her farm produce to support them. When each of my cousins was getting married, she offered them a cow so there children can always have milk.
  5. Water and sanitation: Do not urinate or dump waste near a water source, lest you use your own urine to cook. And if you find rubbish near the water source, do not be embarrassed to pick it up and dump it far away. And when you hear of community activities to clean the village, be the first to show up at the meeting point.
  6. Education: A person who has worked at something for a number of years is better than you - before you start it seek their advice; if they are unwilling to give it, pay attention to them as they go about their business. Do not stare, instead observe respectfully and learn. If they do not want you around them, go to the one who taught them, if they can not be found - seek divine intervention! In her own words - you can not solve a problem that you do not have.
  7. Conflict Resolution: Never take sides with someone who is clearly in the wrong, the tears of the oppressed are why many once affluent persons die a painful death (according to my grand mom they end up with all sorts of crazy diseases if corruption doesn't catch up with them first). Never part ways using conflict as a basis - that way you can always seek help from the person when you need it. If your partner continually uses their fists to resolve issues, separate them. You are not hand sewn to each other.
  8. Community development: God does not bless you with knowledge, skill or resources for you to hoard. Selfless share them with those who are less fortunate and your heart will always be in a happy place.

This post is a work in progress because my grandma and I are still walking this educational journey. For now I have to translate everything i have written as well as your responses so she can know exactly why her picture is on a computer.

This post was submitted in response to #WealthofWomen.

Comments 33

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Stephanie Mah
Jul 18, 2018
Jul 18, 2018

Wow sister,
I smile whyl reading it's so nice. Hoping for more. Joy joy joy.

jlanghus
Jul 23, 2018
Jul 23, 2018

Hi Juliet,

Thanks for sharing your grandmother's wise words. I could've done with a grandma such as her.... not sure about the rich husband, though...ha:-)

Juliet Acom
Jul 23, 2018
Jul 23, 2018

I agree with you on the rich husband - bonus hahahaha

jlanghus
Jul 23, 2018
Jul 23, 2018

:-)

Jane Frances Mufua
Jul 23, 2018
Jul 23, 2018

Quite interesting Juliet. Grandma may not be able to read and write but she has a wealth of knowledge gathered through her journey in life. Seventy Eight Years is not 78 days or 78 months. She knows better what we can do as women and as daughters of the earth to live in our community and mother earth in harmony. What my people say is ' What an 'Old Man/woman' will see sitting on the ground even if you climb on a chair a child you will not see it. Tell Grandma to pass it all to you.

Juliet Acom
Jul 23, 2018
Jul 23, 2018

Thanks, I am translating the responses to her. :)

Olubee
Jul 19, 2018
Jul 19, 2018

Dear Juliet
Your grandmum deserve an award. What a great opportunity you have to learn so much, informal training in line and relevant to our present society.I have learnt so much through these resources. God bless your grandmum.Keep learning and keep sharing with us.
Much love.

Juliet Acom
Jul 23, 2018
Jul 23, 2018

Thanks Olubee. I will keep sharing

kyla
Jul 19, 2018
Jul 19, 2018

Hi Juliet, thank you so much for sharing those beautiful lessons. It is humbling reading your Grandmother's wisdom. I no longer have my Grandmothers but I loved them very much, they too were wonderful women and I know Grandmothers have so much to teach us about life. The lessons you and your Grandmother have shared have inspired me. Thank you!

Juliet Acom
Jul 23, 2018
Jul 23, 2018

Thanks Kyla

Sunita Basnet
Jul 19, 2018
Jul 19, 2018

Hi Juliet,
What an incredible knowledge from your grandma. It also reminds us the crucial role women play within family invpassing traditional knowledge to generation. After reading your post, I wanted to know more about your grandma. Please let us know more about your grandma.
Lots of love and support
Sunita

Juliet Acom
Jul 23, 2018
Jul 23, 2018

Hi Sunita,

My grandma is quite a package....friendly, loving and tough when she needs to be. She is also quite stubborn. At her age she is sharp, her eyes do not miss anything and she has a habit of singing on top of her voice as she digs in the garden (apparently singing makes one work faster).
I have so much to say about her. I remember when we were young and my parents were stressed out about our school fees or medical expense, she would sell a goat and give them the money. She did this for us and all my cousins, each time i remember her contribution to my education i am humbled.

Sister Zeph
Jul 21, 2018
Jul 21, 2018

It was so wonderful to read it my dear

Juliet Acom
Jul 23, 2018
Jul 23, 2018

Thanks Sister Zeph

Corine Milano
Jul 24, 2018
Jul 24, 2018

Juliet, I love this post so very much! Grandmothers hold so much wisdom and I love the way you have shared your grandmother's wisdom with the world. I hope you are able to tell her how far her words have traveled: Spain, Cameroon, Nepal, Pakistan, the US, the UK -- and those are just from those who commented!

I was very close with my grandmother too, who lived well into her 80s. I am going to do this exercise too and think of all the lessons she taught me that I carry into my life today.

Thank you for sharing your grandmother with us all!

Juliet Acom
Aug 27, 2018
Aug 27, 2018

Thanks Corine,

I look forward to hearing your grandmother's lessons. Grand moms are truly phenominal women.

Dawn Arteaga
Jul 25, 2018
Jul 25, 2018

What powerful lessons! Thank you for sharing! I also got so much inspiration from my grandmother, even though she died when I was 1 year old. The words of wisdom that she shared with my parents were passed down to me my whole life. Among them: 1. If more people could sit around the kitchen table with those from other countries there would be no more wars. and another one, slightly less profound but still so true: 2. If you can't find something, clean up!

Juliet Acom
Aug 27, 2018
Aug 27, 2018

Wow, It is amazing how much education when we interact with those who are not of our generation.

Dawn Arteaga
Aug 29, 2018
Aug 29, 2018

Yes, so true! I hope my children learn as much from their grandparents - the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren really is a magical one.

Obisakin Busayo
Aug 02, 2018
Aug 02, 2018

Dear sister
This is a great piece! Thank you for sharing with us. Keep on soaring!

Love
Busayo

Juliet Acom
Aug 27, 2018
Aug 27, 2018

Thanks Obisakin, the ladies on this platform are a true inspiration

SanPatagonia
Aug 05, 2018
Aug 05, 2018

Well, Juliet... I've fallen for your wise and beautiful grandma... It was such a joy to read some of the advices and she sounded like my grandma at some point. I've learned a couple of things, too. Thank you so much for sharing this journey of learning! And--- "you can not solve a problem that you do not have" is something I'm taking to my wall, along with the environmental tip, I must confess.
Love and keep on sharing your story together!

Juliet Acom
Aug 27, 2018
Aug 27, 2018

Hi Sanpatagonia,

I am happy to share the education. I was reading your story on a young woman who died as a result of domestic violence and i remembered another saying........... If your partner keeps resolving all issues with their fists, come home and start afresh, you are not sewn together like a cloth. :)

SanPatagonia
Sep 02, 2018
Sep 02, 2018

Loved that saying! Thanks Juliet!

Jacqueline Namutaawe
Aug 06, 2018
Aug 06, 2018

Wow I love the profound tips from your elderly grand mother especially the bit about the dog sniffing your menstrual blood ha ha ha! I think I have hada bit of an opportunity for informal education with my grand mother. I am inspired by the lessons learnt and I can identify with many of them as one who has had a childhood from the village. Thanks for sharing and cheers #Wealthof Women

Juliet Acom
Aug 27, 2018
Aug 27, 2018

Thanks Jacqueline.

Veronica Ngum Ndi
Aug 09, 2018
Aug 09, 2018

Dear Juliet
I totally agree with you that informal education is wealth.I can attest that from my mother's experience
Veronica

Juliet Acom
Aug 27, 2018
Aug 27, 2018

Thanks Veronica,

I hope some day you will share with us some of your mother's informal education.

Naheda Shaikh
Aug 09, 2018
Aug 09, 2018

Hey Juliet,

this is so intreresting, our traditional knowledge is more important than the any other information of this world, I enjoyed reading and connected with my childhood and suggestions given by my dad regarding some topics which you have mentions.

If the world follow this, no need to make a list of SDG's kind of goal.

thank you so much for sharing.

Love

Naheda

Juliet Acom
Aug 27, 2018
Aug 27, 2018

Hi Naheda,

Your dad is very right, we would not need those goals. I hope you will one time share with us some of his wise words so we can apply them to our own communities.

Lots of love,

Juliet

SIMON MUREU
Aug 13, 2018
Aug 13, 2018

This is a good reading and info.Happy day

Juliet Acom
Aug 27, 2018
Aug 27, 2018

Thanks Simon

Mercy Kusi
Sep 06, 2018
Sep 06, 2018

Wow every lesson about life in one piece.Thanks for sharing Juliet.May God continue to keep your Grandmother

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