The Women of Tafi Atome

5/29/2014

My topic of today are the women of Tafi Atome. All beautiful, all hard working, all women to be admired. Walking with Melissa, Denver and Nelson through the village today i noticed one thing in particular, the ladies of tafi NEVER stop working. Whether its carrying gallons of water or branches on their heads, making cooking oil from plants, nursing their newborns, or cooking dinner, the hustle never stops. Where as we americans have running water, a grocery nearby, can order take-out, these are all resources that tafi women must do without. During our trip around the village, we had the opportunity to meet a few of Nelson’s family members. His grandmother, aunties and baby cousins. One thing i liked most is that he talked highly about the women in his family, admiring the fact that they are strong caring women that continue to keep his family legacy strong. On our way back home, we made a few more detours and interacted with a few of the women in the village. A couple of them were hard at work, sitting outside extracting oil from nuts. Another woman was sitting down mixing and smashing plaintains with herbs to make a medicinal remidy used to heal anything from cuts to muscle aches. All of them were equally inviting and receiving of our presence in their homes and welcomed us to the village. Nelson introduced us to his friend who had recently had a baby boy, he introduced us to her and her mother. Denver, Melissa, and I got the opportunity to carry the baby as the women of tafi traditionally carry their children, on their backs strapped down with a cloth. Amazingly the babies grow acostumed to their mothers back until they are able to walk on their own. This is something I will most likely be trying with my 3mnth old niece as soon as i get back to the states! I love the closeness and bond that this forms between the child and the mother. Nelson’s friend seemed younger than me, which got me to realize that I have seen a few teenage mothers around the village. Teenage pregnancy seems to be a growing problem in the village and Emmanuel suggested we talk to the teenagers about sex education. In tafi culture its taboo for parents to talk about sex with their children. This is because they belief that by talking with their children they are spoiling them and in a sense consenting to pre-maritial sex. We hope that forming a girls class where we can talk about everything and anything can get the girls comfortable enough to talk about this topic. We not only want to focus on sex education, but also confidence building and women empowerment. Talking to Nelson, a villager, he explained to us that when teenage girls get pregnant and more than often they are left to fend for themselves. The child may bore the fathers name, but partakes in no rearing of the baby, many times the fathers themselves are also school boys who can’t support their own selves. This is when the mother’s mother steps in to raise the child. The baby grows up calling the grandmother “mother” and the mother “auntie,” until the real mother is grown enough to take care of the child herself. One teenage mother I have seen and interacted with is Perfect. She’s shy, yet defensive and always caring to her 9 mnth old baby boy Daniel. She carries that bundle of joy everywhere, even today in our after school activity club as we began playing red rover she would gently jog over with her child strapped to her back. Daniel is of a beautiful brown complexion, curly black hair, with long eyelashes that encompass a pair of bold brown eyes. No matter what obstacles seem to hit, there is no other option for these women but to keep moving forward. Phenomenal Woman….. These are the words that through my head as I see the women of the village. Both young and old these ladies are taught to be their sisters keepers, their mothers helpers and their fathers legacy. The girls I’ve met thus far are phenomenal each in their own way, some a little tougher than others, some a little sweeter than others….yet all the same, they make up the girls of today and the women of tomorrow.

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