Why did Malala visit her familial village?

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Malala Yousafzai, in her book, I am Malala writes about her experiences growing up, with a keen emphasis on the role played by gender in her society. In chapter 4 of the book, the village life is highlighted through the eyes of Malala, who was born in the city and was fairly liberal in her approach to life.

Malala says that she visited her familial village with her family twice a year, in celebration of the two feasts Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Azha. Malala tells of the gifts and the basic commodities such as foodstuff and medicine, which they brought from the city to the village. She also tells of the treacherous journey from the city into the village.

At the beginning of the chapter, it seems that Malala enjoys the visits to the village, especially to her mother's family where there were better amenities, including a concrete house and a bathroom. There were also more family members and more cousins to play with.

As Malala grows up into a teenager, she finds the village life boring since there is only one television and no internet. The requirement for women to cover-up does not augur well with her and she says she did not abide by it.

From reading the book, one sees that Malala visited the village to be with her extended family. The village also exposed her to the Pashtunwali, which allowed her to see the extent of oppression suffered by the Pashtun women, even before the arrival of the Taliban.

Malala's visits to the village opened her eyes to the social inequalities in the society, including the lack of social amenities and the gender-based oppression and violence. The visits also reveal the bad governance in the area, which is evidenced by the absentee political leaders.

Despite the beauty of the surrounding plains, valleys and mountains, it is during Malala's visits that the issue of environmental pollution is brought out where the state of the streams is described as marble white with discharge of chemicals.

Malala visited the village as a young girl to spend time with her extended family. In the course of doing this, she ended up identifying her areas for advocacy including the need to educate girls. Having been able to defy what was considered the norm in her village, she got the courage to ultimately stand up to the oppressive regime of the Taliban, which resulted in her being shot.

Therefore, it would be safe and indeed true to say that Malala visited the village to find herself and discover her purpose and to get the tools to achieve the purpose.

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In the book, Malala tells us that she visited her familial village during the Eid holidays. In chapter 4, we learn that Malala and her family often traveled to Barkana for the holidays.

Barkana is where Malala's father grew up. It is a village located in Shangla. Malala relates that her family would wait for Eid announcements before taking the bus to Barkana. Essentially, Malala and her family visited Barkana at least twice a year: once during Eid ul-Fitr (which marks the end of Ramadan) and once during Eid ul-Azha (which commemorates the prophet Abraham's faithfulness to God).

The clerics watched for the appearance of the crescent moon before they announced the dates for the feasts. Immediately after the announcements, Malala and her family would dress in their finest clothes and make their way to the Mingora bus station. The family always brought gifts with them. These would include embroidered shawls, various delicacies, and medicines their loved ones could not get in the village.

In all, Malala tells us that she and her family looked forward to visiting their familial village during the Eid holidays.

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