Nisa is an interesting character that is the focus of a study conducted by Shostak. Shostak is a biologist that wants to learn more about the Khonsian tribe. A tribe that comes from distinct black Africans. Shostak states that they have fair skin, high cheek bones and are not very tall. In fact, they have an average height of five feet. Nisa begins to explain the culture developed by the Shostak people. She goes on to talk about the relationships between siblings, parents, and friends. As I read I quickly learned that some of the typical Shostak living ways are very different than those described by Small.
For instance, Nisa begins to talk about her sex life in chapter four. What she begins to explain is that some boys show sexual frustration early in their lives. Shostak thinks this comes from parents and children living in the same hut. Children can see and observe what is going on sexual with their parents. This is the exact opposite of what Small thinks should happen. Another instance where this is prevalent is through Nisa explaining that she has already been through two marriages and she is still a teen.
This stems from a process that the Khonsian practice of having trail marriages. This is also a complete contradiction of what Small thinks considering Small was a huge supporter of monogamy. The saying by Laura Bohannon “Human nature is pretty much the same the whole world over.” has some great meaning but I think it can be refuted through looking at our way of living as compared to the Khonsian way of living. In our society, it is against the law to have relations with a child under the ag of 18, while in Nisa life she has been married three times before she has her first cycle. It is also very different in the way that when a person gets married in our culture it means you are with the same person for the rest of your life. This is not the case when it comes the Khonsian culture. In chapter 8 Nisa remembers a time where she must fend off another woman that is co-married to her long-term husband.
While it is evident that nature has shown itself to be the same in any community with women getting pregnant and giving birth. Overall the way of living and the things that our culture finds normal is not the same as the normal aspects of Khonsian culture.I’m amazed at the calmness of Nisa and how she has been burdened with so many tough challenges in her life, such as losing kids, dealing with men and not being the only wife, and the challenges of trying to please everyone in the community and stay in the good graces of everyone. She shows that there are strong women who can persevere through the thick and the thin of life.
I’m also amazed with the overall community that has been built. Although it is not like anything like our culture or community, there are tough times but people still care for one another no matter where they are from or what has happened throughout their life. I think this is evident through Nisa and her babies dying. She shows how strong she is but also the community does not give up on her through it all. I think throughout the book we find that Nisa has been through more than most people.
I think she is like us in many ways but she has experienced things throughout her life that make her a little less like us. After losing three children before they are born than losing one at such a young age, then losing the rest of her children before she passes away is something that not too many people in the United States has been through. While it is understandable that Nisa is like us in ways such as her finding love, going through life with having to face some problems by herself. Although this is true I think she has been through a little more than what people in our community can imagine or understand.