Women's StrengthOne of the things that makes me feel strangely comfortable while walking around the town in which we are stationed is how women welcome us. The usually smile at us, saying the usual hello formulas “Akoryabe or Soloma”.
I feel a bit of curiosity on how their daily life goes about and am very impressed on how many of them I see tending the little shops around town. They are practically all women in the market where we buy our products and food. Also our “Explore!” Team has been working with the villagers on their fields to help with better land use, and plans to increase productivity in a sustainable way. Half of the people that work with us in the field are women. They look strong and invincible to me, but also weary and with so much work on their shoulders.
I have seen Malagasy women work in the fields with their kids strapped up to their waist, sleeping or just looking to the world, while they bend to the floor to plant grains and water the plantations.
I have seen them with their kids attached to their breasts, feeding as any other kid, while these women kept at work, under the sun, to try and get their land to produce what they need to live.
Of course it is not only grown women who show an immense amount of strength. I have seen, not more than two days ago, a little girl, about twelve years old, looking after her two small brothers, or maybe someone else’s brothers, while the whole village was having an inaugurating party. The little girl had poured some juice into a small glass, a luxury only reserved to special occasions, and she was giving the juice to the little men she was in charge of. She made sure to give each of the little guys a couple of sips of juice twice before allowing herself to have some. Amazed by this I looked at the scene with more attention. And to my greatest amazement I saw how she repeated this several times. Each time she poured some juice she made sure to first give a couple of sips to the two little kids and only then would she have one, short sip.
We left the celebration soon after this. I couldn’t get out of my mind the image of this little girl and her sense of responsibility. Like a mother she was taking care of two little boys. She only allowed herself to have a treat after they were both satisfied.
I could only think of the unfairness of this world that doesn’t properly celebrate such strength and Love. My deepest respect went for Malagasy women that work in the fields with their kids on their back, and who teach their little girls to care for their younger relatives in such a responsible and adult way.
WWF Volunteer Camila Cosse Braslavsky, Madagascar 2012