I went on a mission trip to Arua in northern Uganda, and I got to see the terror and harm that war brings to us. I also got to see that when everything goes wrong in an African society, a woman is left to clean up, show up and and also suffer.
Even though we were in a refugee camp where the situation was hard for everyone, still the African woman was expected to be the strong one. Fetching water, cooking, waking up before dawn to start “her” daily chores. I still remember the woman who welcomed us into her place, and the way she responded when I asked how she was feeling. She said;
“I am tired, but I can’t show it. I am supposed to be strong in front of all this people, and so even though I am tired, I have to show up strong”.
I felt for her. In fact, I feel for all African women, whether at home or in refugee camps. This is because I believe an African woman anywhere in the world, deals with the same issues. Representing the narrative that we are told since birth. Acting strong even in our own expenses. We all know that human beings in general need to rest, I mean, if God rested, what about us?. My minds shifts and remembers the time I was in Malawi, and wanted to rest. This beautiful lady shared a story of how her mom never lets the ladies rest, for they were supposed to work – always working.
I am not against working, but working without a break, that I am. I am here waiting for the day when we don’t have to act strong and rest when we need to. I am not against being responsible, I am against living to uphold an image of what an African woman should be, I am against risking your own happiness and your own health to please society.
To the African woman reading this, this is your life. You have the power over it. Decide and decide again what your life’s narrative will be. And remember, that an African woman gets tired too.