If you ever been in west Africa as a European or western girl like me, you would notice some fascinating phenomenon about women here.
For me it’s general and goes without a say that women all over the world are amazing. I have been growing up with strong women in my family who went through hell to be able to raise their kids. I believe many of the following features you can say that it connects us -woman- globally regardless our nationalities.
Although somehow the essence of being woman/girl in a family is a differing regarding your geographical coordinates on this world.
Here are some of my observations about being female in west African countries comparing to myself: *the list is completely subjective and describing a generalized idea I built up in myself. I am not intending to hurt anyone or to express any political agenda here. It’s just a kind of list to myself to see how I am different or differently raised. Not positive nor negative.
- I have zero knowledge how to carry a child on my back and there is no chance I can push a baby buggy around here…
- Moreover have a baby tighten on my back and be able to deliver my physical work (sometimes at the farm!!) I am not able for sure…
- I know nothing about cooking – even compare to a European woman- but here it’s a real struggle: you start early morning with all ingredients from scratch: Smash the tomatoes with hand to make the purée. Catch the chicken in the garden and then manually process it… etc etc.
- using almost no electronics and mostly fire to prepare all the foods. I burn myself even with an oven every single time back home… I don’t even wanna know what I would be doing here. 🙅🏻♀️
- Taking care of the entire household as woman in terms of shopping, cleaning.
- For shopping the cheapest prices you sometimes need to walk plenty.
- Carrying the goods on the top of your head… I have zero balance so how 🤷🏻♀️ as I said earlier the roads are bad, can’t use any pulling type of wheely bag. Holding in your hand the begs and maneuver on the busy streets between cars… I don’t know… not seeming possible…
- Cleaning the house even when there is no water for days… well we usually store water though but obviously you need to be using as less as possible and in a smart, effective ways… maybe I should start a how to live in Africa course with a local woman ASAP because I’m doing for sure everything wrong 🙈 ok maybe washing dishes I learned to use less water. taking shower and washing my hair from only half of a bucket of water also working for me after 2 years being here. Let me feel at least about this proud of myself 🤗
- I never had any siblings so I’m lost if it’s about babies and how to look after them. Here, everyone seems expert and it’s completely normal to leave your child with your distant neighbor.. or even on the street with some a little bit older girls… I would be scared to death every single day, as in Europe we thought to don’t leave your child without adult supervision… 🤷🏻♀️
- Seems that woman here are raised also not just for all the above but to serve man like Kings and listen in silent to their instructions and advices even if they don’t agree… well… I have huge problem with this 🙈
- Some older generation family structure -some till today- look like one men and like 5-8 wives. It’s illegal here too by today but it’s a newish rule so grandparents and some older parents are still like that. I don’t know if I would ever be able to stomach this… I mean it’s weird to think about sharing my loved husband with others… 🙅🏻♀️ I talked about it with African Mummy once. She is the first wife and there is a second. She explained to me her reasons and ways of thinking what made complete sense actually. It was something about her lifestyle that she wanted to be more independent and free. And here a husband “can’t” marry normally more woman if he is not able to provide shelter and the minimum to them and to their future kids…
So just a few form the top of my head. Once again please don’t think everything is just like this over here. I highly generalized but some things are really fascinating especially thinking about woman making their money with their little enterprises (selling food on the street) and spending it mostly on providing to their kids… and after 12 hours selling and cooking for others they go home to clean the house and cook for their own families. And then cleanse all their kids, put them to bed and then fulfill their duties with their men. Starting again every day of the week except Sunday. What a strength they have… I’m always amazed!What are your thoughts?