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Rural narratives

Appreciating life situations: Reflections of rural women’s struggles.

Sometimes you need to stop complaining about the situation and appreciate life. Staying positive paves the way for one to see opportunities instead of limitations. While Lydia was confronted with fear, her Godfather told a story, which intended to encourage her to appreciate and embrace life with a positive attitude. It goes like, “When I was a high school boy, most of my classmates were from well-to-do families. I sometimes felt as a teenager that life was unfair, and mine could have been better too.

One day I saw a group of women who traded charcoal and firewood to make a living. They were carrying on their head’s heavy loads of those charcoal and wood with their items of clothing looking dirty because they had just come from the forest where they burned the charcoal. They came from far away villages, walking uphill and downhill, until they reached the town and crossed it, through traffic and well-to-do city dwellers.

 That particular afternoon, it had also rained, and they were too wet. Now the women were maybe 30 minutes from their point of delivery. They would still have to sell and walk back home. What did touch me most was that they were singing a very familiar church song from my village, in our dialect, not in the language spoken in the city. They see real rural women coming to do business in town. They seemed entirely out of place in that ‘civilised world.’ And the song, which I still hear today in my ears as I write these words went ‘Remember, oh man, that everything that you own came from God.’

And they went on singing the different parts – naming all things that we can brag about- and repeating in the chorus ‘it all comes from God.’ I felt so ashamed of myself. I stopped feeling sorry about myself because I had so many reasons to be happy. That experience changed my life. And could change yours if you begin appreciating all the things you have got at your disposal”.

After listening to this story, she thought to her “this is exactly my story”.  Her mama sold firewood, traded in small businesses to bring her up in school. “And such struggles of women in rural and deprived communities is not cool, she remarked”.  On the other hand, she entreats others with better or similar experiences never to forget about their beginning. Reflecting on it will always humble you, regardless of which stage of the ladder you have climbed in life.

If you feel connected to this story, do not hesitate to share yours with her privately or put it in the comment if you want others to read and get inspired.

Photo Credit: Face2faceafrica.com

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