Dada. Mama. Bibi.
[Sister. Mother. Grandmother.]
In the early hours of morning before the children are awake, while the babas and babus [fathers and grandfathers] are still sleeping, she begins her day. For some the walk to water may be minutes, for others the walk may be hours. This is just the first task of many. They are the home. They are the heart of business. They are the soul of the people. Women carry this society – on their heads.
I have been amazed by the strength of women in this place. Mamas are the true African warriors fighting each day for the health and happiness of their families, often by sacrificing their own needs and comforts.
Day after day the tasks are the same. The unacknowledged life. There is no time to be tired – no chance for rest. Life cannot function without mamas, the family unravels at the seams.
Womanhood begins at birth. It is not that often that I observe young girls playing games in the streets or running around with their friends. I see the girls carrying wood for the fire, I see them with buckets that weight more than they do on their heads, I see them with makeshift brooms. Even the youngest who are still attached to their mother’s skirts, they are learning, learning to be a woman in this society.
You are the givers.
You are the providers.
You are Africa.
Candace R., Tanzania Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Program