10.03.2013 28 °C
This weekend marked the celebrations of International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day and it made me want to dedicate this wee post to all of the hard working, inspiring, exhausted, self- sacrificing, beautiful mamas out there…
In the local language here, the name for woman and wife are the same; ‘oku’, whereas there is a clear difference between the words for ‘husband’ and ‘man’. Our language teacher tells us that traditionally the woman is considered the family’s/ village’s property and the important part is whether the woman is able to conceive.
More and more, we notice what a lifelong slog it is for women in this culture, particularly more rurally. When Bighair runs early in the morning, he passes many women lugging great bundles of firewood or charcoal on their head. (They might wonder what he is carrying on his head- a haystack?...) Firewood is increasingly scarce, which means the early bird catches the worm when it comes to gathering sticks.
No sticks means no fire, no fire mean no chai, no chai means a hungry household, so this first task at 5.30 am is a vital start to the day.
A friend was telling me yesterday that if the husband/ man does help with some of the many manual tasks in the home, not only is he is laughed at by the community, but the woman is labeled as ‘lazy’ and incapable.
Coming from a culture that has gone to extremes with equal rights and opportunities, it is striking to us how differently men and women are treated.
As in almost every bleak situation, there are glimmers of hope – and here, it is when men decide to choose a different way for their family, when their own faith and convictions challenge their culture and give them a desire to be involved in childcare, financially empowering their wives and taking on some of the tasks.
Being a mum is of course, wonderful, but I can’t help wondering if some of the joy would be sucked out if I had to wake at 5.30am, had long, physically demanding days, 7 or 8 children under 10 years and not much support from my husband.
These women really are amazing and have a strength that I can’t even comprehend- happy mother’s day to you. xxx