Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Apprentice

It's very common for children to help out parents in their shops here when they aren't in school, especially so in the villages and cities where perhaps both parents are working and childcare isn't that easy. Out among the farmers, kids will help in the fields or with the animals, or they will be out playing along the canals or around the home. I don't happen to think that a bit of child labour is such a bad thing having been raised in the old days when we were expected to have our jobs around the house and to get a summer job once we were old enough. This young man was helping out by putting items in bags for his father.


Leila Abu-Saba said...

My father tended the cattle - children as small as four went off to the fields alone, sometimes to act as little guards over the crops. If a marauder tried to steal some apricots, for example, the little tykes would yell at them and report the misdeed to the grownups. Six year olds took the cows to pasture.

HOwever my father and his brothers were allowed time to go to school, and somehow Dad and quite a few other men from his village got to college and graduate school. Educating the girls came more slowly - they were kept close to home so for generations the best opportunity was teachers' college and careers in the local schools.

This was in Lebanon mid-20th century.

Anonymous said...

At the end of my recent 5-day Arabic course at Darajat, our excellent teacher told of his own childhood. He would rise early to milk the family's sheep and goats, do chores, and then walk many kilometers to the nearest school, reading as he walked. When school was not in session he would be the shepherd, studying while sitting in the desert. As age permitted, he got part time paying jobs. In the end he became a Ph.D. in America where the university offered him a top job. Instead, Dr. Hassan took his wife and kids and returned to Laqiya. He now teaches at Ben Gurion Univ. and elsewhere and contributes to the betterment of Bedouin and Israeli society. His responsibilities in childhood only helped him grow.

Miguel Caballero said...

Congrats for your blog!


Dina said...

Hi Maryanne,
Apparently part of blogging is getting "awards" from fellow bloggers. Jerusalem Hills got one today and I had to pass it on to five favorites. You are top of the list at . Thanks again for all your inspiration and help.

Petrea Burchard said...

Found you via Dina. It's world travel at it's easiest!

I grew up in Illinois, USA, and was expected to do my chores from a young age. I had my first paying job by age 14. Knowing how to work has served me well.

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