How is life in your community? Which are the main challenges faced by women here? We asked these questions to Salina, who lives in a rural distant community in Baringo county, Kenya, when we went to visit her women group for the first time a few months ago.
“A woman is overworked at home, she wakes up early and sleeps late, everything depends on her. Life here is very hard. We have scarcity of water. The father has got no activities that lies on him: once he wakes up, he goes on his way leaving all activities to the mother, she fetches the water, takes the few animals to the grazing field and ensures that they get water to drink once she is back. When her children are sent back at home because they have not paid school fees, the responsibility will also fall on the mother. A woman is like a donkey in this community.
Early teenage pregnancy is a big challenge. The girls who dropout cannot go back to school, due to school fees and taking care of the baby. In case of illness, both the young mother girl and the baby cry, because they do not know what to do. They will remain at home, even if she is doing well at school.
Us, as mothers who have become grandmother, we get beaten by the husband because they believe that the upbringing of the girl child is our responsibility. The fathers do not even bother to provide anything for the dropout girls. The mother is who sacrifices her time to look after the girl, for her to go back to school, taking care of the grandchild, the baby.
Most men in that community, especially the drunkard, wakes up early in the morning and come late in the evening, without providing anything to the family. We do request if we can get some help to fence our small farms back at home for planting some vegetables and fruits so that our kitchen gardens are safe from goats. We request some training in soap and cake making, and after acquiring such skills we will be able make soaps or cakes and make income through the sales.”