A day in the life of a Mali woman.
Someone wrote recently, and asked what is a typical days' routine like for a woman here in Mali? These women work hard. So I went out and took pictures of the housework that women do here. (Without a vaccum cleaner, electricity, or a microwave.) I thought you might find a few of these pics interesting as well.
Fire is very important. Most women cook with either charcoal or wood fires. Mali is trying to make natural gas available in bottles, but even subsidized, they are expensive for the people to buy. First thing in the morning a woman will light her fire, draw water from a well. (rope & bucket...) Then she will heat the water so everyone can have their morning bath. One takes a bucket of warm water into the shower stall, and lathers up! Then she will re-heat water for cooking.
Here is our good friend Lorme bringing back water to her house. In her case, her well was dry during dry season, and she had to walk to the neighbors' yard to get water. Her family probably does 15-20 trips a day. Of course, water is carried on your head. You need your hands free, you know... How much water could you carry without spilling?
Here is our neighbor woman. She is one of 3 wives. She is pounding corn to make cabato. Cabato is to a Malian what mashed potatoes is to an American. Even more so, because it is daily food. She will serve cabato with a gravy sauce. Sometimes a peanut sauce, sometimes a veggie sauce with okra and eggplant. Both are very tasty. The cabato is like very hard, firm dumplings of corn flour. It is served hot, if possible. It takes the women 20-30 minutes of hard pounding each day to grind the corn to make the cabato.
Always, sweeping the yard is part of the routine. Sometimes the kids are required to help, but school has started now, so many kids are not available for chores they usually do.This girl is sweeping with a bundle of stiff weeds. This kind of broom sells for 50 cents or so in the market place. It is very effective, although hard on your back. I never did figure out why they don't attach a broom handle to the bundle, but they don't.
Many women (I would say the majority, even) do not go past 4th grade in school. Therefore many of them don't know how to read. We really have a burden for these women to be able to read, and for the Christian women, particularly to know the Word of God with their own eyes!
Pray for the women of Mali, that they would be able to know the Word of God, that God would touch their hearts, and call them to Himself! Pray especially for the 6 who meet at our house 5 days a week to learn to read.
Thanks for stopping by,
Tom & Lisa Seward