It’s been about a week since we have moved into Josephine’s home, we have moved from Wilson’s home into the home of one of the students from class P6. On one of the first days after moving in, she took us on a walk to her farm to collect firewood. Never had I seen a 13 year old chop down tree branches like this little girl! We joined in the action and helped her gather some of wood ourselves; a chore that seemed hard to us was extremely easy for Josephine. Everyone in Tafi Atome, both children and adults are physically fit to perform such chores as chopping wood that demands a good amount of energy.
As I interviewed more people for my health project, there is a common answer that most people seem to agree on, there is no body ideal in Tafi Atome. Part of my project in Tafi Atome concentrates on the physical aspect of health, one of my questions being: Is there a Body Ideal that villagers in Tafi Atome want to have? Whereas in the US girls prefer a skinny silhouette and men a muscular chiselled body, people of Tafi Atome prefer a body ideal that will allow you to do your necessary daily chores. If you are too skinny, then people in Tafi Atome consider you weak. Not strong enough to carry on chores that require strength such carrying wood, collecting water, walking miles to get to a certain destination. If you are overweight, to the point where doing physical chores is a fatigue you are also considered unfit. Many of the men of are physically fit, thus far I have seen only one villager out of the 2,300 who live in the village that is maybe a little more stout than the rest but healthy none the less. The amount of physical work that people do in this village leaves no room for obesity to become a future concern.
Much of the food staples consist of fats and carbohydrates. Since our arrival, majority of our meals consist of bread and jam in the mornings, and a combination of fried or boiled yams, plantains, rice or spaghetti with tomato sauce or beans for lunch and dinner. Many of the villagers eat these types of foods because it is what grows on the farm and because it is what sustains them throughout the day. Banku with Okra stew is one of the more popular dishes in Tafi, Banku is mashed cassava and plantain dough made into a ball. It’s interesting to see how someone’s environment and lifestyle plays an important part on nutrition and your overall health. Tafi Atome is not a place for the weak hearted but rather for people with strong bodies and good stomachs!