By Ezra BAYA, YMCA SOUTH SUDAN
In this microcosm of the black continent where I find myself, or even in most parts of this God-given place for us to live in. A woman here is just a thing. She never thinks of being at any level equal to a man. Be it Religion, Politics, Economics or Social.
She is there as a factory of children’s production and takes a full task of rearing them. She has no voice at all in the family, never to say no to sex or ask for it when she needs it regardless of any situation she could be in. She is vulnerable to sexual abuses like rape and insets. She has no right for education, election and marriage. A Lady from one of the ethnic groups in South Sudan called Tara tells us that she is a victim of forced marriage. In her village, a girl who attracts rich men (the ones who have many herds of cattle) is considered as a good seed, therefore girls are considered as a source of income and riches. She also says that a woman is threatened divorce when she continues to produce boys. This is because they say boys take away from the family. But to other ethnic groups, a woman risks expulsion if the next baby to be born is also a girl.
It is woman’s role to see that even with nothing in the Kitchen, the children’s bellies are staffed. It is her responsibility to see that the wounds of the children are dressed and that the lice that sack the blood of the children around their waists and on their hair are picked and killed. To have some fan with her children, she bites in style the lice that she collects from the hair of her children with her teeth, what she feels as a moment of leisure with her children.
A woman ensures complete security of her family though not recognized by even herself. In most cases the father of her children weakens himself with a lot of drinks, and comes back home late in the night. He is even weaker than his 5 year old child because of over consumption of the locally manufactured liquor that he takes in pretext of cooperation with other village colleagues leaving the woman to do almost everything alone in the house. She puts to bed her husband paralyzed by the heavy drinks and weeds that seem to have forced themselves in him. The woman makes sure that the husband is alive, because she needs him. She needs him even more than herself; she wants to be continued called a married woman. That is all. She feeds her husband with the best dish that she prepares to her limit. The woman protects her husband with the children from any dangerous creatures that move at night. To avoid any problem between her and the husband, a woman keeps a cool spirit not to respond to her husband with anger
A woman is there to give the children the first Aid when they get accidents. And when they are ill, she takes them to the health care centre or to the witch doctors to be treated while the husband only finds where to sit and whisper some words to the gods to see that the treatment is of success. And after recovery, he is the first to tell the woman that it was because of his prayers that the healing was successful. The woman praises him for the prayers neglecting her part of responsibility, only pronounces it with a lot of inferiority.
A woman does all the farming activities, from the plough to harvesting. In spite of all these achievements, the woman would never like to make her look superior to her husband, because she is a woman.
It is the common stereotype in this part of the world that a woman has no right to inherit her husband’s property in case the husband’s time comes first.
If one is to go deeper in search for the reality about the life of a woman in my region, more will be found negatively touching. But in brief, a woman here only lives by chance, otherwise she merits nothing.