Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Iron Women

Kenyan women have to be the strongest, fiercest, most durable, formidable, courageous women I have ever met (except for my wife). These women don't do Pilates, run triathlons, or hold Yoga positions; but these women are Africa's version of Iron Women.

I don't think I could get this load of fire sticks on my back let alone carry them up from the forest to the top of the Rift Valley escarpment which is easily 1500 vertical feet. Then after completing this chore it's time to fetch water which is likely at the bottom of a boar hole 2 km away. After that get the cooking fire going (but you can only use a few sticks to preserve firewood) to heat up milk and water for chai. If you are lucky you may have some charcoal to cook with.

Then its time to wash the clothes by hand and hang them on the line. You may have another job on the side like sewing, cleaning, or being a casual for someone else to earn an extra 50 KSH. Did I forget managing the kids (Kenya's birth rate average 5 kids per family), feeding them, cleaning them (no tubs, diapers, bibs, napkins available). Then you can't forget the Shamba (garden) that needs tending to grow potatoes, carrots, cabbage..that is if their is a decent rainy season this year. As dinner time comes (most Kenyans only eat one big meal at dinner) it becomes time to cook the Ugali, make the chipates, and boil chai over the jicho. Then cleaning up and washing all the dishes by hand with a bucket.

You won't hear a word of complaint from these Kenyan women. But I wonder... Is this lifestyle a product of corruption, marginalization, and chauvinism? Or is it just the way of life in Kenya?


Anonymous said...

Malin- Is that yoga comment directed towards me:) As you know over the years, holding the tree pose is very difficult, I believe you still haven't beat me in the annual challenge! Love you,


Ana said...

I agree Malin. The Kenyan woman are really incredible. And think how even more difficult it would be if there were no dentist of OB-GYN nearby. You guys are helping make their lives easier and help alleviate some of their medical difficulties. Good job!!!

The Friess Family said...

Kiersten, I have one word for you...Namaste!

Anonymous said...

So what do Namaste and Nyama Choma mean? We were wondering what happened to Daniel's cow. It didn't look good for the cow after we talked with a vet here and he said they almost always put them down. We will be praying for him and his work and your milk delivery!
We enjoyed your comments about the Kenyan women. No wonder the thought of going for a walk or a hike for fun is foreign to them. They already do that everyday because they have to do so.
Keep up the yoga K. Meredith and Amelia like yoga too and showed me their poses.
Love, Mom