Appreciation

Nyles Davidheiser - Senegal


February 23, 2017

 

Senegalese (African) Women

 

Ages 5-7 is when it all begins, if not then you can meet a young “woman” who maybe has began earlier and rarely will it have been or be at an older age. What does it take to become a man is a frequent question I have heard or discussed numerous times growing up. Now very seldom, if ever do I hear what does it take to be a woman, rather it’s more of an age thing it seems. Now technically we are or have been young boys and girls, and along that process we have grown to become a man or woman. For some individuals it is a much longer process to cross the threshold. Everyone has there own specifications, on what it takes to cross that line from adolescence to adulthood.

 

Let’s not hang ourselves on the technicality of differentiating the topic. Rather I’d like to speak about the “women” of all ages here in Senegal(Africa) in respect and to the many aspects of there contribution to their family, community and society.

 

I’d like to give this topic a little twist, make it a bit uncomfortable as I may have already but also make it relatable to I, myself and maybe some of those who will have the opportunity to read this blog.

 

First I would like to say Thank you in the loudest voice, and show appreciation beyond measure as time progresses to my mother who has been a single parent of 4. She has raised each of us to be who we are and it has shown in many ways positive. Growing up she gave her all, to make sure we were occupied and rarely did she have to correct us on any behavior or our academics. Now in particular those times when she did have to homework assist, she would sit down and try to help, wether she knew it or not, and not knowing it the way we were taught either. It was the way we were raised, we knew what was expected, it came much more natural and out of respect for our mother.

 

I myself would certainly and assuredly state that my mother is a “Woman” not just a “woman” but a strong, always smiling, happy, lively, friendly, enduring , capable, never complaining, loving, supportive, beautiful, well appreciated, responsible,

around the clock, nurturing

hospital, dominant, always present,

and young but aging “woman/mother”

 

Long run on sentence, yes I know. She has been a long time serving single mother so for that, the long run on sentence along with many other unspoken descriptions she can be titled with.

 

Now to the point, Senegalese(African) Women since I have been abroad very well fit that description as well. I have seen a tremendous relationship between my mother and these women being among their presence. I am an eye witness of the hard endless work they put in each and every day, mother back at home and the women here in Senegal.

 

Work which both men and women are capable of in my(our) eyes is not the reality here. There have been days where I’ve attempted to clean, cook, and wash my clothing but it was taken over. I was informed that, that’s the women’s task they will take care of it.

 

Extreme appreciation to the many hardworking women here in Africa young and old for there never ending work which they fully endure with no complaint.

 

The women are so confined or have been raised this way and no other option to step outside the situation. Some lack education, just so they can fulfill their rolls in the household. They don’t have the opportunity to learn things, and in some cases don’t know the official language of there country, French.

 

As I walk around or look around everywhere around me there is young/old women working. Up early, bent over sweeping compounds and floors following that is the floor washing on hands and knees, washing clothes, pounding food, preparing breakfast-lunch-dinner, washing dishes, carrying things on their heads running errands, baby’s on back, selling produce in the market.

 

Despite all this reality, they are still always smiling and happy and non complainers.

 

Their work is physically draining. Carrying a baby that’s extra weight, carrying things on their heads difficult and heavy, hand washing clothes efficiently that takes a lot of arm muscle. Bent over cleaning the grounds and floors is back breaking.

 

Many women here are married and again young/older wether it’s due to early marriage or forced marriage, some are the only wife or among a household where there is possibility of up to four.

 

 

These young and older women are conscious of there around the clock work and role in their families, community, and society I wouldn’t at all doubt that by any means, but at the same time their endless hours of work have become unconscious behavior.

 

Unconscious in being yes they know but it becomes so natural that’s they do it unknowingly. I’ve literally wondered how sometimes the women don’t just say “I’ve had enough” and hand the work over. They have work ethic, they are powerful in a sense.

their presence is depended on.

 

For the very reason they never do that, this is what makes them a woman, and there are women of all ages here.

 

They have gained a lot of respect and are well appreciated by myself truly and their families, communities and society.

Nyles Davidheiser