Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Juice Boxes

[July 2010]

Part Two

The next day, we met at the school to clear out our stuff and return our supplies to the storage space.  I was asked early on, whether I would be coming on Monday. "Coming to what?" I had asked, and yet even asking didn't really clarify what anyone was talking about.

When things are cleaned, counted (for inventory), and boxed, the staff sit down for some leftover snacks and boxed juices.  And then before I'm really even aware of it, plans have been made for a social event.  As one counsellor takes down items, transportation arrangements are made.  Someone else asks me if I'm coming.

I'm not sure what to say.  There's no way I'd be allowed to attend the event.  "But if you go, our parents will let us go too!", they say to me. 

 And I'm in an utter state of disbelief.  How did all this happen without the Supervisor's input?  Have the pros and cons been labelled out?  What about parental permission? What about the fact that this event is so taboo.

I'm fuming.  And it's not because I think I should have been consulted.  But because this is such a dumb idea that does not take into account any of the possible consequences.

I make my way out of the classroom with my little trolley, and Sarah helps me out. As we walk to the masjid,  I tell her that I think this is a dumb idea.  It took us so long to earn this (patriarchal, uber-traditional, no-women-in-the-masjid mentality) community's trust, and all it would take is one little celebration not within the parameters of what is considered acceptable, for that to be blown off.

So we get to the masjid, and once everything's put away, and I give mum a call.

And I guess I sounded hurt, because she later came up with this theory that I think that people don't respect me.  And ever since she's come up with this theory, she's started saying bizarre things like, "It's okay.  Don't worry about them. You don't have to live with them the rest of your life anyways."  Bizarre, yes.

I hang up, and the attention suddenly turns to me.
I'm asked again whether I'll be coming.  And I bluntly state, "Only if I have permission."
That was Friday.

It doesn't really sound like a meltdown of great proportions, but it was.  This writing does it no justice.

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