A Day in the Life of an African Wife
By Ebenezer Awuah
In Africa like elsewhere, not all people live in cities or urban areas. More people live in the rural areas of a country than in its cities. City dwellers adopt imitated lifestyles, trying to live like Europeans, but originality can be found in the lives of rural dwellers.
Duabone is a rural area in the Atebubu District of the Bono region of Ghana. The population of the village is about 2,000, and there lives Asibi, a 38-year old married woman with four children.
Following closely her daily routine Asibi wakes up about 4am to sweep her compound and after that walks a long distance to fetch water from a pond. She goes up and down about three times to get enough water for the day’s use. She is sometimes assisted by her eldest son who is a naughty boy and often gives her some troubles.
Asibi chooses to prepare breakfast for her children before they leave for school every morning because she does not have enough money to give them always. Two of the children are very young and have to be assisted to bath and dress up. Sometimes she has to assist them to get to the school which is far from their home.
When she gets back home she does a little washing and prepares to go to farm if the day is not a market day. There are two market days in the week in her area.
Working on a Farm
Today is not a market day so Asibi will go to farm instead. Her husband has already taken the lead to the farm which is about four kilometers away from home. He doesn’t care much about the children in the morning. That is Asibi’s responsibility.
She follows her husband later to the farm, carrying some food and water with her baby at her back. When she reaches the farm her husband is angry at her for arriving late and picks a quarrel with her.
Asibi keeps calm and helps her husband in preparing the land for the next planting season which is due soon. This is done mostly under direct sunshine because the vegetation in the area is mainly grassland and there are no big trees to provide shade.
After some hours she goes to their first farm which is nearby. The farm has yams and vegetables so she harvests some for home consumption. She will come again in the morning of the next market day to harvest some to sell and bring the proceeds to her husband.
Sometimes she prepares food on the farm for her husband before they return home in the evening but today she did not.
Asibi must fetch some firewood to cook the evening meal so she does just that. There is no charcoal at home today. She walks some distance to find dry wood. Unfortunately her cutlass is not very sharp and cutting the dry wood becomes an ordeal. By the time she finishes cutting the wood she requires, she is totally exhausted.
Journey back home
Carrying her baby at her back with firewood and foodstuff on her head she begins the 4-kilometer walk back home. Okada does not operate on the footpath unless someone hires one to the bush.
She gets home around 6pm exhausted but has no time to rest. Her children are already back from school and are hungry. She hurriedly prepares supper for the family and finishes at 7.30pm.
The children will not have an evening bath but Asibi and her husband will. She warms water as they have their meal and her husband baths first after eating.
Asibi sweeps and washes the dishes herself because her son will refuse to do it. She rests for some fifteen minutes to breastfeed her baby and takes her evening bath.
She goes to bed around 9pm very exhausted but has one more job to perform. Guess what?
Night fight over sex
But today there is a serious fight between Asibi and her husband in the night. Yes, a serious fight ensues in which Asibi has to defend herself. The husband is furious and beats her beloved wife mercilessly. ‘’What is it about?’’ you might ask.
Her husband is demanding to have sex and Asibi is refusing. Hear each of them.
Husband (angry): My wife is fond of denying me sex. She always complains of being tired. Why? Is that how a wife should behave towards her husband?
Asibi (sobbing): My husband likes sex too much. He likes to have sex with me every night, even when I am too tired for it. Even our last baby is not yet grown up. My husband is ungrateful for all what I do.
The matter comes before some elders of the village for settlement because both parties are angry at each other. Her husband summoned her there.
For the marriage to continue in peace Asibi is advised not to deny her husband sex at any time. It is her responsibility. No sympathy was shown for her.
There is not a day Asibi will not go through her daily routine chores, so whether she is tired or untired, interested or uninterested, Asibi has to perform this final part of her daily chores under compulsion.