Reducing hard labour for the rural woman

Tunde Legha
Posted May 7, 2018 from Cameroon
Bring farms closer to village settlement
Bring farms closer to village settlement (1/1)

    The women in my maternal village, Bu-Wum, Menchum division, North West Region, Cameroon, are just so slim and most of their children has red scanty hair,  big stomachs and swollen limps. When i decided to take a close look , i discovered it was not their nature or gene.  The women travelled very long distances and with very heavy load on their head. The children had marasmus due to poor nutrition.

 So i tried to inquire why it was so. The answer baffled me. There were no farms or gardens near the village. Women had to walk 16km climbing a very steep hill just to go to the farm and during harvest, another 16kms to go to the market with their harvest on their head. There were no gardens around the compound where they could grow vegetable because men rared animals around homes and often, these animals moved randomly in the village eating any plant they find. When these men finally sell the animals, they take the money to the nearest town and spend it on beer.  Milk is very expensive and the women cannot afford it. Dont ask me where the men were. They were there. Their only activity was, impregnate the women,  and then leave the rest to her. 

  So i tried to find out why the women tolerated such a thing. They said "you would be lucky if your husband has only one wife, so you try your best to keep him pleased so he doesnt take another. Then there is also the issue of refunding the bride price if he decides to return you to your family".

  It took me a while to figure out what i could do about the situation. So i bought some few bags of salt and cartons of soap. Shared in small rappens and added soap. Then took one of my cousins, living in the village at that time. We started moving from house to house. I explained to them about family planning, rallied them so that we could go to the chief and talk about this issue of animals destroying anything planted around the village. He did nothing. So i went to the D.O, organised a meeting with the men and tried to educate them on why it is important they find a way for their wives to be able to grow crops around the village. They cared less, because when they have money and go to town, they feed well and if they slaughter the animals, they say women and children are exempted from eating it for its tradition.

  The D.O announced that every body should catch their animals and confine them or it will be seized. No body did. So the date line past. I went back and saw the D.O and he sent his boys and they caught and took away the animals.

  When they discovered i was involved, they teamed up themselves and decided to storm my elder sisters house where i was staying and get me. One of her children heard of the plot and hinted me, i had to run away in the middle of the night to town. 

  My sister was summonned to produce me. Thank God her husband is a very influencial person who lives in Yaounde. He threatened to bring police to the village and arrests everyone. They became afraid and then stopped harrassing her. 

  During the reign of that D.O, people were able to farm around the village because most people confined their animals during the farming season. But unfortunately the D.O died some few years later. His replacements dont care. I organised a small gathering where i taught the women how to make milk from sawyer beans for their children.

 The plan is not fully working because they need to start growing the beans. It is a cheap source of nutritive protein. My next plan is to introduce the growing of this beans for themselves and the growing of other vegetables around the compound and also raring of agric fowls by these women for source of protein. To do this i have to find a way to get men to confine their animals even when its not farming season for the garden plan to work.

  As usual, i will need partners to carry this out.

 

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Comments 9

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Jill Langhus
May 08, 2018
May 08, 2018

Hi Tunde. Thanks for sharing your troubling story. No wonder why you want to help these women so much... they need you! So, the first issue is nutrition, and then empowerment and making an income? Let's see who else we can find to help collaborate with you...

Tunde Legha
May 08, 2018
May 08, 2018

Thanks. Its wonderful to be talking to you. I am so encouraged. I really wish i can do more.

Jill Langhus
May 09, 2018
May 09, 2018

You're welcome:) Thanks! You will. I have faith that you will:-)

fidelity
Dec 16, 2018
Dec 16, 2018

Hello Tunde,
your story is touching, coming from a developing world like my self i do understand some of these challenges facing landless women and food insecurity. i have an idea why don't you try gunny vegetable growing. they will require gunny bags fill them with soil and manure, place them next to their houses where keep a close check. in the manure and soil put enough water and poke small holes on the side. using seeding from the local vegetables plant in gunny bags and what ever water they use probably after watching dishes they can pour the water on the growing vegetables. this way they will have vegetables through out the year. let me attache a photo for you. i believe this will be helpful am available for more information dear sister. keep up the good work
see my new post for a photo

Tunde Legha
Mar 26
Mar 26

Thank you very much for your suggestion. I can already see it working for them

Katalina
Mar 08
Mar 08

Thanks for sharing!

Tunde Legha
Mar 26
Mar 26

Thank you for reading my story

Feka
Mar 11
Mar 11

Dear Tundra,
My aunt is married to a Bu man. I understand your struggle and story very well and it isn't limited only to Bu.
I pray you get the kind of collaboration you are looking for

Tunde Legha
Mar 26
Mar 26

Thank you dear. I hope so too. A lot needs to be done in rural communities in Cameroon to get the people to near moderate standard of living. Especially the women and children. Bu is not in this world, in terms of development.