It seems the show Human Planet is rife with opportunities for rabbit trails. We watched episode two yesterday, on people who inhabit deserts, and this is where is has led/is leading so far...
An exploration of matriarchal societies and women's roles in trading, etc., after learning about the Tubu women crossing the Sahara. While not a strictly matriarchal society, it certainly places the women in a very important role.
This discussion makes me think The Girl might enjoy How High Can We Climb? The Story of Women Explorers.
Water collection from fog leads to experimental ideas... we're talking about/planning to try different approaches to this in our backyard to see what works and what doesn't.
We talked about the transition between childhood and adulthood, without a "teenage" era, after the segment on the Tubu women, and another on cattle herding in Mali, in which a sixteen year old boy was fully responsible for maintaining his family's cattle herd, even taking them days across the desert to a watering hole. In the segment on the Tubu, the matriarch of the group turned the directions over to her ten year old daughter on the final 20 mile trek through the Sahara, both to test her abilities to guide her camel caravan through the desert, and to ensure that future generations will be able to find the tiny well in the middle of nowhere.
We compared our current water use (
58 33 gallons per day per person based on our last water bill) against the rates in Las Vegas, which is 199-208 gallons per day, per person. Of course, the average American usage of water (178 gallons per day), and even our own lower total, still far outstrip Africa's general 5 gallons per capita (Water Facts).
We even had an interesting discussion about whether socially permitted extramarital "affairs" were okay or not, after a segment on the Wodaabe people of Niger. When the rains come, which is not every year, they have fertility dances, and then men, married or not, can be chosen as lovers. They are a polygamist culture overall, so these brief interludes don't seem out of character for their beliefs. And we talked about standards of beauty, and how widely varied they are.
The next episode is on life in the Arctic... I can't wait to see where that one leads us!