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文书点评:肯尼亚乡村之旅(A Visit to Rural Kenya)

来源:美国留学网 2008-02-27   美国留学   免费评估   答疑
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At the end of July of '95,I boarded a plane that would take me from my home in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Nairobi, Kenya. My parents had always wanted to take our family abroad, but when my mother signed a contract to work for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Kenya, plans materialized, and we were soon on our way to an exotic year in Africa.

Besides the farewells I had to make to my friends at home, I had few reservations about living abroad. What made it easy for me to come to Africa was my eagerness to immerse myself in a new culture. I knew that I might never get such an experience again, so I was determined to learn all I could about the language, the history, and the people, of that far-off place.

During the first few months of our stay, my family took various trips around the country. We watched zebra and wildebeest migrate across the Serengeti, saw hippos floating like rocks in Lake Victoria, marveled at flamingos balancing knee-deep in a salt-lake. We climbed an extinct volcano in the Rift Valley. We snorkeled in the Indian Ocean and fed fish from our fingers. We hiked 17,000 feet above sea level to the peak of Mt. Kenya. And we studied Swahili, the local language, every evening after dinner. But in late October my aunt came to visit for a month. She romanced us with stories of her experiences in rural Africa working in the Peace Corps. The sharp contrast between the simple lifestyle she described and the one I was leading shocked me as to how un-African my life was. I went to an American school every day with mostly Europeans and Asians, which, despite being a unique experience itself, isolated me from the larger Kenyan community. I was also living in a city, where shopping malls, Italian restaurants, late-night discos, and movie theaters were all available close at hand. Was this really what I had come to see? My daily activities were almost the same as the ones in the United States. I typed English essays late at night on a computer; I showered with hot water every day after soccer practice; I dined on fried chicken or fish fillets or hamburgers. I was in the midst of a swarm of expatriates who had formed a community so tight that I could live with all the luxuries of a technologically-modern lifestyle. I saw my problem: I had wound myself so tightly in the routine of my school life that I was no longer seeing Kenya or even Kenyans. I yearned to know some of the African culture, but I didn't know how that could be achieved without a drastic break in my academic progress, which I wasn't willing to sacrifice.

After talking over this issue with my parents, I stumbled upon the perfect solution. [name] is the son of [name] and [name], with whom my mother lived twenty years ago when she came to Kenya as a volunteer nurse. [name] was living with us while he attended [name] College, but he was going back to his home village to visit his family over the Christmas holidays. I could go with him and stay with his family there.

This excursion proved to be the most rewarding ten days of my entire stay in Africa. In that short period, I learned more about Kenyan culture than I had in the five months prior to that time. First of all, I witnessed how different the female role is in Kenya than in America. The women-young and old-did about twice the work the men did. They had to cook the meals, get the milk, sweep the house, chop the firewood, take care of the children; the list goes on and on. The men did some work on the farm, but mostly they enjoyed a laid-back lifestyle. And it is not uncommon for a man to have more than one wife. [Name] has had a total of three women as wives. What seems unheard-of to a Westerner is commonplace to a Kenyan.

I also saw an intense restlessness for change. When the men sat around the dinner table (women weren't allowed to eat with them), they would not merely discuss the weather or the latest gossip of the village. No, they debated the problems and merits of Kenya and what could be done to improve their country. They voiced their apprehension of the government, their fear that if they openly opposed the estab-lished authority, their family could be persecuted by the president's special agents. They talked of the A.I.D.S. epidemic spreading through the working class like wildfire. They expressed their anger at the drug abuse of their nation's youth. But these men were unwilling to accept the obstacles they faced and instead looked toward solutions-education, fairer elections, less corruption, and others. I also saw that a primitive life is not necessarily a painful one. Theirs is a simple life-one without running water, or electricity, or telephones, or cars. But being simple did not mean it was a pleasureless life. It meant fetching water every day from a well. It meant cooking over a fire and reading by a lantern. It meant walking to school instead of driving. But it also meant no expensive phone bills, no wallet-straining car repairs, no broken washing machines. A simple life had its hardships, but it also avoided the hassles that Americans face in their complex modern lives. In the village, we ate good food, children screamed and shouted with joy, we laughed while playing card games, we flipped through old photo albums. Their lifestyle was vastly different from mine, but they still had the same goals that I did: to have fun, to get a good education, to be comfortable. After the New Year, when I returned to my home in Nairobi, I went back carrying in my mind a vivid picture of rural Kenya, but also satisfied that I had learned something that could not be found in Nairobi's American expatriate community.

点评:

这篇散文小品的作者得益于一段不平常的旅行经历和熟练的运用各种丰富多彩的细节。记住,当你要写一篇关于身心沉浸于异国文章的散文时,你必须表达出通过此经历你的成长,因为仅仅是叙述事件是不够的。

整篇文章结构严谨。这个学生知道怎么样去创作一篇高质量的文章。她的表达方式让你身临其境。完美的结构和文笔。她有对事件的细节及其敏感并且知道如何去展开一个故事。这是一篇不错的文章。我特别喜欢文章对非洲景象生动的描写。它向我们展现了一位女性,她完全开放于新鲜的体验,忘我的沉浸于她面前的境遇,无论这种境遇多么陌生。相信作者将是入学新生中的优秀一员。

译文:

肯尼亚乡村之旅

1995年七月末的一天,我登上了从俄亥俄州辛辛那提飞往国外的航班,它将带我到达肯尼亚首都内罗毕。父母一直有带全家出国旅行的心愿,但直到母亲签订了与美国国际开发署的合同,这份心愿才予以实现。不久我们就踏上了这次非洲一年的异国之旅。

除了不得不向我家乡的朋友道别以外,对于这次国外之行我没有别的可以留恋的了。对异国文化的渴望使我轻易的下了去非洲决心。我知道这是我一生中难得的机会,所以我会全身心地陶醉在学习这片遥远大陆的语言、历史、和民族的过程中。
 
在非洲的最初的几个月里,全家出行了多次。我门曾观看过斑马和羚羊在塞伦草原上迁徙,曾见过像礁石一样漂浮在维多利亚湖上的河马,也曾惊讶于火烈鸟在没膝深的盐湖中的平衡力;曾攀登过大峡谷中的死火山;曾在印度洋里潜过水,鱼儿也曾在我们的手中摄食;曾徒步蹬过17000的肯尼亚第一峰;曾在每天晚饭后学习斯瓦西里语。但当我姑妈十月份造访我家的一个月中,听着她在非洲的传奇经历,与她描述的淳朴的生活风格相比,我深深的感到我的生活是多么的非非洲式的。我和一些欧洲、亚洲移民就读于一所美式学校,尽管这是份独特的经历,但它被孤立于肯尼亚社会之外。我也居住在城市,那里的购物中心,意大利餐馆,通宵舞厅, 电影院都近在咫尺.难道这就是我千里迢迢来这儿要看的东西?我每天的活动几乎和在美国相同。深夜在电脑前敲击这英文文章,每天在足球运动后洗个热水澡,吃着炸鸡和鱼片还有汉堡。我深处在一个铺天盖地的外籍移民紧密联系的社会中,在这种社会中我可以享受奢侈的现代化高科技的生活。我认识到了我的问题:我的眼睛已经被每天例行的学校生活所遮蔽,看不到真实的肯尼亚和肯尼亚人。我渴望了解非洲的文化,但我无法完成这一目的,除非打破我所不愿意舍弃的理想中的进行计划。

与父母讨论了这个问题后,我偶然发现了一个两全其美的解决。**是**和**的儿子,母亲在20年前到肯尼亚做志愿护士的时候和他同住过。在**读大学的时候和和我家生活在一起,现在他将要用圣诞节的假期回家探亲,而我正好可以和他同去。

这次短程旅行是我整个非洲之旅最有意义的十天。在短短的时间里,我所了解到的非洲文化比我之前的五个月要多的多。首先,我亲眼见证了妇女在肯尼亚的社会角色和美国有多么大的 不同,不论是年轻还是年老的妇女都承担了男人两倍的工作。她们不得不做饭、挤奶、打扫房间、砍柴、带孩子,工作一样接着一样没完没了。而男人们只做一些农活,大部分时间却享受着悠闲的生活。而且男人可以有多个妻子。**已经有三个妻子。对于西方人不可思议的事情在这里司空见惯。

我同时感觉了一股改革的躁动在社会中孕育。当男人们围坐在饭桌前时(女人不准和他们一起吃饭) ,他们很少谈论天气或者邻里之间的闲话,取而代之的是肯尼亚的问题和优点以及怎么样做才能是他们的国家进步。他们吐露过曾被政府逮捕过,而且他们担心如果他们公开反对既定的权威他们的家庭被政府的特工迫害。他们讨论艾滋病象野火一样在工人阶层中传播。他们表达了对毒品在青少年中泛滥现象的不满。但他们不愿意接受现在所面对的困难而希望于教育的提升,更加公平的选拔,更少的腐败等等。我也证实了原始的生活并不是痛苦的生活。他们的生活简单,没有自来水,没有电,没有电话,没有汽车。但是简单并不意味不愉快。它意味着每天要从井里,挑水,意味着炊烟四起,意味着秉烛夜读,意味着远足到学校。但也意味着没有昂贵的电话帐单,意味着没有汽车修理使生活拮据的尴尬,意味着没有“体弱多病的”洗衣机。简单的生活有它的艰难,但它也避免了美国人所面临的复杂的现代生活。在村里,我们吃着美事,孩子们欢快地叫喊欢呼,我们笑着玩牌, 翻阅旧相簿. 他们的生活方式与我如此的不同,但是我们有着共同的目标:追求欢乐,追求好的教育,追求舒适。新年刚过,我回到内罗毕的家——脑海带着肯尼亚乡村鲜活印象,我毫无遗憾因为我已经了解了一些在内罗毕的美国侨民社区无法寻觅的东西.

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