Dance Lest We All Fall Down

In Dance Lest We All Fall Down an anthropologist named Margaret from Seattle spends time in a shantytown in Brazil. She becomes friends with Rita who is her colleague and sidekick. They work on building  a non profit school in the shantytown for women. The gripping part of the story is what happens to them as they live there, and how they handle living among the flavelas. Margaret uses a form of afro-brazilian self defense to get herself out of sticky situations in dark allies late at night. The big picture of the book is education for the underprivileged. Education is the key to all and any kind of success whether its economically, personal finance, politically, or in business. When you educate the poor, you can teach them how to improve and get out of their situations. Education is an investment which is why we don’t see as much money spent on it in nations annual budgets. There are more immediate things that need money and people don’t want to see their tax dollars spent on investing and hoping our young delinquents are doing something at school and could change maybe solve our personal problems one day. There is no evidence correlating the amount of money spent per pupil, to an increase in academic success, also. Education is the best shot at solving any future problems. The more people that are educated at a high level, the greater chance we have for ideas. Otherwise we end up with elected leaders voting on how to solve our problems with multibillion dollar negotiations that could have maybe been solved in the first place by an entrepreneur coming out of college. Now obviously that example involves a high level of education and sophistication, but it all starts at the smallest level. You can’t just drop Harvard in the middle of the slums and think you have a great education system. It starts with the small school that people put their time and effort into that we read about here. Then over time it’ll grow to two or three, maybe a little bit of government assistance, and now people in the area at least have the opportunity. It would be an extremely long process to bring a poor country to a very high level of academia, but the best thing is to just start the grass roots foundations and let it naturally grow from there, because it will. The key factor to improving education is paying teachers more, making it a more desirable position for someone who would otherwise enter the corporate world.














2 Replies to “Dance Lest We All Fall Down”

  1. I loooooooovvvveeeedddd the book. Though I can’t decide whether or not I liked Margaret as a person, she’s an awesome author. I must admit the book took me on a whirlwind of emotions. I felt like I could really relate to so many of the issues Margaret mentioned such as sexism, racism, and simply being a foreigner. I laughed and cried and became furious at various points throughout the book. I love this example of how education can change someone’s life. It somewhat reminded be of the project that took place in New York (I think it was New York) except Rita’s project was directed only towards girls. Furthermore, I feel like the article you chose definitely relates to some of the issues the project in New York focused on. I have a plethora of questions for class, but I am so excited to discuss everything. I literally took about eight pages of notes. Unfortunately, I still cannot really figure out what capoeira is even after watching multiple videos and looking through pictures. I just can’t grasp the idea. My biggest concerns came from the African American and Afro-Brazilian views of one another. Though there were definitely some parts she could have left out, this was my favorite book of the semester. Also, did you know that Gorgas workers arrive at 4am? Whoa! #superexcitedforclasstoday

  2. Someone really enjoyed the book (yes, you Larilyn). I ended up finding it on the interwebs for a very discounted price but I digress. It was by far the most interesting book we’ve read all semester and definitely the most relatable. Bahia Street reminded me of various NGO’s that are dedicated to educating inner-city children and those without means for a “quality” education; I feel like Bahia Street took a more realistic approach. The way this is narrated is definitely through the eyes of a foreigner but it’s refreshing, she takes a western approach to things without completely downing the culture. Education does changes lives; not so much the knowledge, but rather how that knowledge is applied. #greatread

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