Dancing Skeletons Essay

2628 Words May 21st, 2012 11 Pages
Meagan Conrad
Rough Draft
March 16, 2012
Transfixed by Dancing Skeletons Katherine Dettwyler’s work in the field while she was in West Africa was exciting, filled with humor and even terrifying at times. She dealt with seeing various life-threatening diseases that affected the lives of children her daughter’s age, as well as adults. Dettwyler found that almost all of the people she came in contact with were completely oblivious and uninformed of the ways to prevent diseases such as malaria, Schistosomiasis, malnutrition and other infectious diseases unique to their region of the world. In her book, Dancing Skeletons: Life and Death in West Africa (1994), Dettwyler discusses tons of the health problems she comes across, in
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She learned many things from him and he helped her through rough times when the language barrier got in the way. She also met tons of different women who helped her understand the Malian culture to their best abilities. One woman caught my attention; her name was The Fat Lady from Timbuktu. She met Katherine on her first trip to Mali and was overjoyed to see her when she visited again in 1989. The Fat Lady would always tease Katherine about how she was too old and skinny and that Steven probably wasn’t sexually interested in her anymore. She would offer her 12-year-old daughter to become Steven’s second wife. (This is normal for Malian men to have more than one wife.) The Fat Lady stood at only 5 feet tall and weighed around 300lbs. Being fat in the Moor culture to which The Fat Lady belonged to, showed wealth and beauty. (Pg. 31) The Fat Lady of Timbuktu had a maid with leprosy that had a very malnourished child. Katherine was immediately interested when she saw her working outside with the thin, weak boy strapped to her back. She tried for weeks to get the mother to understand how important it was to make him eat certain things in order for him to grow properly, but the mother never listened. Finally one day Katherine snapped and yelled at the mother, but The Fat Lady from Timbuktu started laughing. She explained to Katherine that the woman was a little slow and she was very forgetful. Katherine

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