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Walking around Oda Village with kids and listening to their stories and sense of humors is quite inspiring. They occasionally dispose their peer’s secret affairs to make us laugh. Although affairs related humors are often considered a taboo, they don’t hesitate to make a laugh out of it while among the closest friends and their peers.

Girls also bring up stories about how frightened they were while coming from nearby grinding mill during night. Curious about why hyenas are still after women, they  teasingly accuse hyenas for their persistent discriminatory act against women despite gender equality in modern times. Evidently, especially among Arsi Tribe, hyenas are nicknamed “Abbaa Durbaa”, means “master of women.” In fact, elders tell old time story when their great grand parents occasionally threw baby girls to hyenas during massive starvation to control population size. Baby boys were spared to use them for hunting, protecting families and, most of all, defending tribes against unwelcomed tribal intrusion.

Village girls now appreciate how lucky they are that their times are a lot better now than what life used to look like for girls long time ago. Even 20 or 25 years ago, kidnapping women, dropping them out of school for housework and, worst of all, forcing them to arranged marriage was quite common in southeast region. Now a days, their challenge is simply a shattered dream for not getting anywhere beyond High School grade.

The majority of village kids are High School graduates at a very young age, and left behind screened out by new education policy. Disappointed by the school system’s outcomes, they toil in the village mostly working heavy duties beyond their physical tolerance. Intrinsically refined sense of strength through burdensome lifelong challenges, they never seem to walk along without hope. They are vibrants to engage in some form of work, enthusiastic to know the life of girls outside the country,  and optimistic about changes for better future despite narrow slit of opportunities.

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