It was ten years since Mr. and Mrs. Sumbuko (a village woman, not educated) exchanged their vows and got married in love. They had no house of their own so they stayed together with their children in the house of Mr. Sumbuko`s parents’. Mr. Sumbuko did not have a permanent job but worked in peoples' farms to earn a living and fend for his wife and four children together with his parents who were aged and could not do much to earn income for themselves.
However, Mr. and Mrs. Sumbuko were so hardworking and the fact that they were struggling to make ends meet did not kill their hopes of having their own house. The couple saved for years from the small income they got and Mrs. Sumbuko could also do some household chores for other people in the village in order to support in the savings for building their long awaited dream house.
After several years of saving Mr. and Mrs. Sumbuko decided that it was time for them to start buying materials for building a one-bedroomed grass thatched house. They put their monies together and they were able to buy enough grass for the roof and timber for the roof and walls. Their neighbours were willing to provide them with cow dung for the walls and floor.
After getting all the materials, the couple decided to approach their friends within the village to help them in constructing their long awaited house. The response they got was overwhelming. This was because this couple’s achievement was like an achievement for the entire village.
When the day came for constructing the couple’s house, the neighbours who had been invited to help in building turned up in large numbers. Mr. Sumbuko and the men helped in fixing the walls with timber and roofing using grass while Mrs. Sumbuko and the ladies smeared the walls and the floor using cow dung mixed with mud. They all sang traditional songs as they worked together, as it was traditionally believed that singing while working makes work enjoyable and hence work is accomplished faster.
Having achieved a mile stone, the couple and their children were so excited and could not hide their joy but they had to wait for one week for the house to dry up; therefore, they got back to working for others so that they could occupy their new house in a celebration. They sent verbal invitations to their neighbours who had helped them with the construction to join them on a house warming celebration on a Saturday.
After one week, the couple was able to raise money for the celebration. Mrs. Sumbuko decided to take part of the money to buy utensils in a nearby open air market. She bought a few plastic bowls, plates, spoons and cups. She was to borrow sufurias from her parents-in-law. On the other hand, Mr. Sumbuko went and purchased food stuffs that they had agreed on.
On the house warming celebration day, Mrs. Sumbuko being a very hardworking woman woke up very early in the morning to prepare meals for their visitors. Mr. Sumbuko and their children on the other hand arranged their new house and put furniture which their parents-in-law gave them as gifts and others which they borrowed from their neighbours so that the guests could have enough seats.
By one o’clock in the afternoon Mrs. Sumbuko had set the table with bowls of food for the visitors. The guests had already assembled at the gate and Mr. and Mrs. Sumbuko together with their children joined them, as was the tradition for a celebration like that in their community. They came in from the gate singing and dancing to the newly constructed house and rejoicing because of the couple’s great achievement.
On arrival in their new house, guests were expected to start feasting. On the table were bowls filled with food. Mrs. Sumbuko welcomed their guests to start feasting and to her surprise some people were looking at the bowls on the table in a surprised manner and this made all the others who were ready to start eating to stop. One of the ladies, Mrs. Matata openly started blaming Mrs. Sumbuko about the bowls asking her why she used the babies’ potties meant for children’s waste to serve them food. Mrs. Sumbuko had seen the babies’ potties in the market and innocently bought them thinking they were classy bowls and so she quickly purchased them for her distinguished guests. She tried to explain and begged her guests to eat but no one was willing, instead they each left one by one.
Often than not we are quick in throwing blames at others without realizing what part we have played in the whole issue. Mrs. Sumbuko was blamed yet she had not been enlightened, she was not educated and she was innocently discharging her duties as a woman.
We are living in a fast moving world with many innovations and technological changes taking place. Most of the innovations take place in the urban areas but the woman in the village is hardly educated on the innovations taking place yet they shoulder very high responsibilities in the villages.
When I was living in the village, I realized that it is believed that it is the responsibility of the woman to know what the whole family will eat, meaning she has to source for it by all means, even if it means doing house hold chores for others like Mrs. Sumbuko. Whether it rains or not; because there’s no electricity in most villages and they can’t afford gas for cooking, the woman has to look for dry firewood from the forest to be used for lighting up fire for cooking. It is again the responsibility of the woman to ensure the children are dressed up for school and when they get back home for lunch the woman (their mummy) must have prepared food for them. This kind of responsibility requires education and empowerment. “The education and empowerment of women throughout the world cannot fail to result in a more caring, tolerant, just and peaceful life for all.” Aung San Suu Kyi.
The time is ripe, the time is now for all educated women to rise up and take action. Let’s start with women in our own villages, our community. Let’s link up with the media, the government and faith based organizations and go back to the villages to make a difference in women’s lives. “There’s no limit to what we, as women can accomplish.” Michelle Obama . There's no limit to what can be achieved if all the women in the villages are educated, poverty reduction,change of personal economic status and status of the community and stability in homes among other achievements. Education is much more than reading and writing. It is an essential investment countries make for their futures, a crucial factor in reducing poverty and achieving sustainable development.