Kenya glossary










Chief's wife/businesswoman




21 November 1996



Section 1
What is your name?
My name is Beatrice Lawen.

Beatrice Lawen.

OK. Where is your home?
My home...where I come from?

It's...towards Trans Nzoia.

You're from Trans Nzoia?
That's where I was born.

OK. And now, what tribe are you?
I'm a Sabaot.

You’re a Sabaot?

OK. Are you married?
I am married.

Where are you married?
Here in Kaptani.

Ooh, you are married in Kaptani. So you live here in Kaptani?
We live here.

OK. I have heard that you...are a chief's wife?

So, as a chief's wife, what work do you see yourself doing? That is, since you are a chief's wife?
As a chief's wife...I do all the housework, digging...everything that is required at home.
Section 2
And also to bring up my children.

I think that is…it's also work, right?

That is...

So eh, what is your husband's name?
My husband's name is Alfred Longot.

OK. And when did you get married?


Ok, all right. Now in his chief's work, as his wife, do you help him in his work?
I don't help job is just to look after the home.

It's just to look after the home?

OK. It's not like... the chieftaincy of the past?
No, no. In the past, even in the past, these...women cannot take on the husband's work. That is, she cannot involve herself, so long as she does this housework. But to help her husband in that, no.

For us, the woman stays at home in case visitors come to ask for her husband, and to show them where he has gone.

OK. And now, chiefs in the past, what was their job? Like you, when you were a girl, what work did you see them do?
As chiefs?

Like their government work, or whatever they did?

Yes...any...both government and traditional.
Eh in the past, I remember that those old men...if someone were a chief, he would sit in a particular place, and the old men would go there. Anyone with a report would go and meet there, and they would discuss it there. And finish it there.

And the women did not approach that place.
Section 3
It was the old custom that a woman cannot sit the presence of men, or even speak before them.

OK. Women did not talk to men?

Even in the house? Even...even if a visitor came?
If a visitor comes, the man is the one who speaks to him to find out the news. And the woman, that's when she...she will be called, so that she can know what will happen. A woman had no right to say anything in her husband's presence.

OK. And...and...we know that when people live in a house, they help each other. So how would that woman help her husband?
The help from the wife, I think was on the side...I'll say on the side of milking the cow, tending the cow. That is the work they mostly did. Others would milk the cow, and drink the milk.

And ideas, how did they help their husband with ideas?
With ideas?

I think, in terms of ideas, the woman couldn't say anything.

As you saw...did you see this with…with your mother and your grandmother?
Eh! If a woman could even know something, but she could not say it to her husband.

OK. And you with your husband, since you live these days which are not very traditional, you and your husband share ideas or?
In our life now, things have changed from how they were in the past. So like me and my husband, we can sit together, talk and plan what will happen...we share ideas.

OK. We help him...with what kind of ideas?
If, maybe my husband has...has acquired a farm somewhere he will definitely come to me to ask me, “Mama, I have got a farm, now what do we do?” And I will advise him on what to do so that...we can be one in our sharing.

OK. Now, in his...perhaps in his he a government chief or a traditional chief?
A government chief.

A government chief?

Do him with ideas in his work?
Eh! We help each other. Perhaps he has slipped somewhere and I can take him and tell him, “My husband, here you could have said this.”
Section 4
OK. And if you say that, does he see...listen or...does he listen and act, or not act...what do you think?
OK. When we talk like that, he listens because he doesn't follow the old customs. Our life is modern, so we must in our sharing.

OK. And which is better? Do you think that in the olden days, where the wife had her own work and own ideas, and the husband his own work and ideas, that was good?
I think this sharing together is important because if it were like before, a woman can have something to say but you can't tell your husband, and you keep it to yourself. When I think about it, we oppressed women in olden days. They were really oppressed. But now...we can understand each other.

OK. women in olden days were oppressed, what did they do with those thoughts in their hearts?
Those women thought, “if I could, even if you had told me, I would have said this.” A woman could even have something of substance to say, but doesn't because as a woman she cannot speak.

OK. And...when you say your mother had seen something which could...cause trouble to the family…the whole family...or in the relations with the neighbours...if she saw something like that, would she tell her husband or just...keep quiet?
In the past, the wife wouldn't say even if she saw such a thing...let the matter itself reach the husband because even if she says, he would not listen to a woman's word.

So, could the wife tell someone else to tell her husband, or how would he get to hear?
The husband would eventually stumble upon the matter himself, or be told by a fellow man, not a woman.

Ooh! OK.
That is how the old custom was. My mother used to say that a woman cannot speak in the presence of a man.

OK. but do you think they respected each other or...that respect was not there by the men towards the women?
I'll say...this... they respected each other because the woman would obey her husband. She did not speak. Isn't that obedience? If you keep silent, it is because you respect your husband.
Section 5
OK. And...and the husband towards the wife?
Even the husband towards the wife, for he would heed if the wife had refused something...he would know she had refused.

OK., I ...I have heard that are involved in these women's groups. Could you explain a bit of that to me...
Well, what I could explain is regarding these merry-go-rounds (rotating credit schemes). Here, in the group of women, we buy household utensils for each other. That is what we have, and also this women's group

Now, that is different. I don't know which one I'll talk about - this merry-go-round or the women's group. We have just began that group...recently but we are already...12 women.

Eh. We sat and thought about what we could do to help each other in our our homes. .

And...when did you begin?
Let's say...we are...let's say a year old now.

A year since we began.

Now there…we sat down, we called each other, and said, what can we do so that we can also be seen to be...that is, that we should be seen to be a woman with a proper home. That's when we started, so that the women could be seen as a proper housewife, who has begun to develop herself. With development, you start in the home. So we said we should contribute an amount of money to buy what...household utensils.

So, what amount do you contribute?
For tea, we would contribute Ksh 25.

We would leave you that one for providing tea. And you would come with whatever you had thought of, to bring to that woman. You could bring even a table; another will bring a stool, another one something else. That day, we will all come and combine them.

OK. her tea money that is for...
Hers. That is when you go there (to her house), you the host will buy sugar, the group will drink tea - so that money is yours for providing that tea.

OK. And then, in addition, everyone will buy something?
Section 6
And you do this monthly or...?
We were doing it monthly...

And if they come to your house?
Eh they have already come.

So what did they bring you?
They brought me ...a gas cooker, they brought me sufurias (pots)... there are these bowls, dish bowls, and even tea pots - lets say money household things.

They are many and big…a gas cooker is not something small. OK. It's good that you are helping each other. And how did you get the idea to begin this merry-go-round?
That one...we just thought about it. Let's say, if you travel, you can get ideas from somewhere else. So since I travel as a hawker, I had gone to Kimilili. There in Kimilili, they are very advanced. There, they are dealing with the kitchen, that is if they say it is the kitchen, they buy utensils for the kitchen. Until about 21 women had come together and they each contributed a thousand shillings.

A thousand per year or per...month?
Every...every month. And when we saw how developed those women were, we began thinking and said that if those women were doing it, we should also try ours. So we came, sat down and began ours.

We said, let's begin ours even though it is small, and we shall also develop.

OK. Although it is not small. You are doing well. OK....and what about this other one of the women's group?
This one of the women group ... we began it in 1987.

Eh. I am the chairperson. This one is called Cheruot Women's Group.

Cheruot meaning...?
Well, that name Cheruot, there is a tree that was called...that was traditionally called Cheruot which grew abundantly in that area. So the people who lived there in the past had called that area Cheruot.

OK. And in that Women’s Group what kind of activities do you do?
In that Women’s Group, right now we are farming.

OK. You are farming?
We lease a farm and then we plant beans and millet - everything.

OK. So, so when you lease the farm, do you help...that is, do you all dig it or...? Eh. We ourselves dig it.
Section 7
How many are you?
We are 21.

And you lease a farm of what size?
We lease a farm of about...about three acres.

About three acres?
Eh. Because we are three groups. .

We are Cheruot Women’s Group, and Lelombwe Women’s Group and Chenobe Women’s group. We all united.

You all united?
Eh because there were some people from Finland, no sorry Sweden. They were the donors or…they came and helped us. And they are the ones who bought us the three-acre farm.

OK. So the farm is yours.
Now the farm is ours. Now, we farm and we have even built a house.

You have built a house...
Yeah...we have built a house of...for the guard of our farm.

Ooh OK. OK. And now OK, so when you plant that beans and maize you said. Now when you harvest that, the money...?
When we harvest, we combine the money so that we can know how much we got and then we put it into our account.

OK. that account, what do you use that money for?
The money that is presently in our account we are using to build a fence around the farm.

OK. I see you are progressing...Now these women's groups, when did they begin?
Group for...?

I say that Cheruot group - but this situation of women coming together. Was it there in the past? Even traditionally, did women come together?
In the past, no. I remember that it wasn't there. They didn't know progress because I think this is what came and became progress.

OK. I am asking because like in my home, women would come together like to dig together or...that is, they would go to someone's farm, and then tomorrow to someone else's farm to help each other...did that happen here among...among the Sabaot?
In our area, in the past, they would mostly do it when they brewed beer. That's when if you had work they will come here and help you. But it was not just a question of going to help so and so here.
Section 8
OK. So you when they brewed beer then...?
That is when many people will come to help you with your work. That would be like a harambee (joint self-help initiative/pulling together).

So you will will help each other and then you will be given beer to drink and you stay together like that. Eh...

Eh, after you have worked.

OK. And does this happen even these days?
Aah these days, no. Even if they do it, no one will go. These days we come together to…that is in these...let's say these groups are what bring women together.

OK. Now, when did this tradition of women coming together change so that women began these women's groups?
I think it has been about 55 years.


And why do you...why do you think that traditions changed?
I think the tradition changed because when people began to visit each other, then they knew what development was.

What kind of development did they see?
It was, as someone walked...if you just stay in one place, you will now travel so that you know that so and so did this, in a certain place they do that, so that you can also bring that development.

OK. And what do see as the benefits of women coming together traditionally as you were saying?
The way the women would be together?

Yes. Traditionally.

I don't think that it was good…eh.

Because the way things were in the past, the women didn't really have the time to sit together...
Section 9
Because each woman would sit from morning to evening in her home.

She....wants to...milk, she wants to see tend [the animals].

Mori is?
This needle. Now, you see a woman did not have the opportunity to leave her home to go elsewhere.

To talk to someone else.


OK. So you think that was hard for…
It was hard.

Huh. And was it...was she required to or was she wished?
It was as she wished.

But generally, they didn't have time.

They didn't...I mean her thoughts had not reached the point where someone could go sit with her peers and talk.

Everyone had their own concerns, each with her own concerns...

To see what work needed to be done.


Huh…OK. And there was something I wanted to ask you but it has disappeared from my head. say that...the way women stayed...that they generally stayed on their own.

And in what ways did they help each other as women?
I don't even think there was any way that they helped each other.
Section 10
Huh. Everyone was on their own?

OK. And how did the men help each other?
The men, I think if something came up, that's when the men would talk...

Huh. And what about coming together, like...traditional parties eh...were...were they there frequently when you were a girl?
Traditional ones?

Eh…like people coming together go to parties?
We can say that they made their parties...once a year, eh a day I remember is like Christmas. That is the day they considered important. That is when they would come together, kill a cow and eat together.

So then...where you come from, were...were they Christians or did they follow tradition?
Our place?

We can say they are Christians.

Like your parents, were they Christians or were they traditionalists?
They were just Christians.

And their parents?
Also Christians.

Your parents?

Now, seems it reached Trans Nzoia very long ago?
It first came…?

And like when Christianity came...were there traditional customs, which were mixed with it?

Like? Like tradition?

We can say that there were those who followed tradition, and there were those who didn't follow that tradition. They just followed their Christianity.

OK. And like circumcision, did the Christians leave that or did they continue with it?
We can say the Christians did it, they did not refuse.
Section 11
And are there other customs like that which...
They want to circumcise children?

Yes. Were there others who refused?
Let's say at that time, many didn't refuse it because they didn't want to say that they couldn’t circumcise. They just continued to circumcise. But now they refuse.

Some refuse?
Yes, others have now refused. And now that this...this circumcising of children was very common in Sabaot tradition.

Like if you see a boy who has passed the age of circumcision but is still uncircumcised, how will people view him?
If it is a boy and he has passed the age for going was said that he must be caught by force.

And they would catch him?
And circumcise him.

And these days?
These days we can say there are some who still adhere to that, but many have entered the church, they don't follow it, and have left that custom.

And how did others see if it is an uncircumcised boy, or he is no longer a boy and has grown up but still hasn't undergone the circumcision rites? How did people view him?
People did not regard him as worth anything. Since our people had really taken to this custom of circumcision, it seemed like if you were uncircumcised, you were not a man. But if you had passed the age and you were an uncircumcised man, they must force you, because they said that if a person died uncircumcised, as an old man, he would not be buried. When he died...when they took him out of the house, they would not pass him through the door.

Eh, how would they remove him?
They would demolish the house and pull him through there, just like a dog.

OK. And if it was an uncircumcised woman?
Women did not have that much. A man…men were the ones who really had it.

OK. And what was it like to his family? Suppose you are a woman married to an uncircumcised man, how do people view you?
They would not be happy and would say you were unmarried.
Section 12
Now, if a son of that home... if like a woman has married someone who has not undergone that custom, how would people view that woman?
They would say that woman is going into a family that doesn't circumcise. They would not feel good. They would feel bad if their daughter insisted.

Oh. When you were a girl, could you have married a man who had not undergone it?
Only because of love, I could not refuse or say anything. If you love each other you can just go, but the issue will later reach your parents. Then the parents are the ones who will refuse and say that you married in a place that...that we did not want.


Now, like your husband...did you come together out of love or did someone choose him for you?
We got married...I married him out of love.

Eh. OK, so what qualities did you see in him which made you...
I didn't see anything...only love...I think I had reached 14 years. Now...when a girl here, reaches the age of 14, she is ready to go to her own home [get married].

OK, huh. But I am sure you didn't just pick anybody...
I didn't choose him. We can say it was love, because I remember I was far away while he was here, but in everything I knew it was the plan of God. Since God is the one who knew and brought us together.

OK. You said you were far away, you had gone...
That leave Trans-Nzoia and gone to Bungoma.

Wasn't that far?

Yes. That is far. OK. Now, I would like to take you back to this issue of women's group. When you are women coming together like that, how do the men view you?
Now, when we started this women's group, we saw that our husbands are happy because we have reduced their load. Because now, when you see someone bringing you household utensils, even the husband is happy. He sees that his wife has given him rest, and he finds ways of doing other work [with the money he has saved].

OK. And are there husbands...let me say are there husbands who perhaps have...who can see…that the wife has now become like the men in the house? You see, there are others who see that...this furnishing the house or developing the home, to them it seems like the wife has become the husband. Are...are there others who...who think like that...?
There are many who think like that, and say that if a woman can take everything, it is like she has become the husband.
Section 13
Huh. She has taken everything how...?
That is, she is concerning herself with...even building a house or something else. There are some men who say, if a woman will do that she will appear like the husband in the home.

OK. And if...a husband thinks like that, what do you do?
Eh, like that are truly the ones who don't want development.

So then…so if they do that they...what do they tell the women or what do they do...?
You know there are husbands who, when they begin like that…when you are in the house and say, “My husband these are the things I have brought,”… he sits and thinks, “If people buy my wife the house when we quarrel even a bit…”, he thinks the woman will say, “Ah! Shut up. Even all these things are mine. I can pack and leave with my things.” So this is what makes men...have bad thoughts.

OK, eh. OK. And how do you think women can live in harmony with their husbands while involved in this development of the Women's Group…so that the men don't feel that way?
Eh…you mean that the women live without the men?

No! I mean...if you see that some husbands, when their wives bring progress in the home, they think, "Ah! Now this woman is getting proud." How can a woman live with...
For me, I see that the way I live with my husband is that we see that if we live like that...that is when we are...we are together.

We help each other, but I don't know how those who think that they don't want to share…I don't know how they think in their homes.

Huh. So what can a wife do in a home so that the husband ah...changes...those views of refusing women's development? That like...there is a man in the home, the wife brings development but the husband doesn't like it? That is, so that it doesn't bring disharmony in the home?
I think first the wife should try all ways to see to it that her husband agrees with her. When the husband agrees, is when the woman should now continue with her development activities. But if you see that your husband has refused, there is nothing you can do. Because you are a woman, and you have no power whatsoever to oppose once the husband has refused.

OK. Do you think it is better to be a woman or a man?
In what? In the house.

I think it is better that we...that we be and my husband because we help each other in ideas.
Section 14
But you know like people...let's say like traditionally, do you think that in a home it was better to be the wife or the husband?
I think I prefer to be a woman, because since I have been created as a woman, I am suited to take care of the home's affairs.

And a husband?
And a husband was given hard work. He thinks about external things, building and other things.

So do you think that a woman's work is easier than a man's?
I think a woman's work is hard, but I think it is easier for us.

But I think sometimes, you see there is something that if you are a woman or a wife annoys you. You can even begin thinking...let me say...“ if I were a man, I could do it better.” Because when you speak like that, it means you have felt this frustration before, and you said that it would be better to be a man.

So you've seen the frustration of...
Sometimes the way men sit…and perhaps your husband has a small brain – a woman can think of something quite valid, but having to pass it by her husband is what makes you annoyed. And you say, “If I had been a man, I would have been able to act on this one.”

OK. Now madam, did you go to school?

What class did you reach?
I reached the Form 2 - the old one where we didn't do KJC (Kenya Junior Certificate of Education). And that is the year they said...that they removed it.

OK Until Form 2. OK. And how did you think that education helped you?
That education…that is…it help me because I feel I can speak English and Kiswahili. I also see that when I travel, I can know that this is a good place to go through, or this is not one. I found education to be an important thing.

OK. So you said “when you travel”. Do you travel a lot? You said you work as a hawker.
Yes, I travel a lot, I even go to Nairobi, Eldoret, even Kimilili. You can even see us here in Kapsokwony.

I think you have travelled.

And what wares do you sell?
I just sell...let's say sweaters, clothes and etc.
Section 15
OK. How did you begin this...this business?
This business was when I...I joined my husband and we saw that life was hard. We had nothing. Even my husband at that time had not got the chief's job. He had not. So that is when...problems began when we had our first child. We had a lot of problems.

So that was when?
That was in '76.

'76. Oh, you had got married in '75.

OK. Yes, so you have done this work for 20 years.

Huh. So what have you seen as the benefits of this travelling job?
Well, the benefit is that if you travel, there is something you are seeking. It is not just travel...I think that if you go to like Nairobi, where I travel, I have a goal to go and buy certain things. It is not just travelling only.

Huh. Do you travel alone?
Yes. And I like it.

Why do you like it?
I like it because…now, I have become mother and father. Because we get everything (income) there.

OK Huh. OK. And how did you think of beginning business of this kind...why didn't you begin business of another type?
In the past, we didn't really have business in this area. Our business here was like brewing beer. That is where business was. Now, I didn't see myself very...I didn't have the strength for that work. So then my mother told me, “My child, I think you are hardworking. Try and do some work.” And she helped us. She even gave us money to start. So I saw that we were continuing well.

OK. And what does your mother do?
My mother sells clothes.

OK. Eh. So you followed her steps in business?

OK. And where did she get the idea to begin clothes business.
She was with a Kikuyu woman. Now she was...

You mean, your mother's mother was Kikuyu?
No, her friend. .

Eh. A Kikuyu. So they would walk together and she would inform her…that is she told my mother, “You Sabaot, why can't you join us so that we do this work together.”
Section 16
And that is when my mother sat, and thought, and saw that what that woman was doing...the way she ran her work. That is when my mother then found the heart to say, “Let me join them.” So she joined them and they continued, continued...and that is how, when I came to my mother that she thought to say, “My child really has problems. Let me help you. Try this work.” And I rejoiced.

OK. And have you how many children do you have?
I have six children.

You have six children.

Boys or girls?
I have two girls and then four boys.

OK. Now I know this work has helped you feed ...?

But you see...perhaps...Kiswahili is you see, is it hard to be a woman doing that business? Do you think it has interfered with your work as a mother...while you are doing business and travelling?

I think I have taken a job which is easy for me. Although it is hard, but when you like something you must commit yourself wholeheartedly.

OK, huh. ... And do you think that perhaps…that in caring for your children, that it has...made that work of caring for children very…?
No, because now these children are continuing well and now they receive everything.

Huh…I don't see anything hard, I just see it as though it has become easy.

OK. And if you...if you are away. Eh, I know that traditionally women would help each other, and if a paternal aunt or a grandmother was there to advise the children. And now, when you are away or you have travelled for work, who do your children go to? Nowadays?

Well, these days, where do the children get advice because the father works, the mother works? That is the trend today. So where do the children get advice on how to live their lives?
They get it from their grandmother...
Section 17
From their grandmother?

Even these days?

OK. And...can a grandmother, advise children these days, who have perhaps gone to school and have lived away. They have seen different things than their grandmother. Can their grandmother...give them adequate advice for these days?
Yes. If a grandmother sees a child going astray, she gives them advice to bring peace.

OK. Alright. I don't know. I think my questions have ended. Perhaps there is something that you would like to...
Why have your questions ended and we are together because of...

We must help each say and we help each other with ideas.

Eh! It is to help each other with ideas.
I think the problems of didn't register…that is, it wasn't finalised.

Yes, perhaps there, I can explain and expand a little bit.

Yes. Just explain.
I think that in the end, I would say that the troubles for we women, I think they are hard because for us to even live with a husband in a house, we find it very hard but...

It is hard...why?
To live as we live with a husband at home...I know it is a very difficult life. We just persevere. Huh.

Now, this persevering, we have not yet understood how you could help us. Because these days, they say a woman must be beneath her husband. That was the custom of long ago. But these days we want to be be equal with our husbands. Now, I don't know how even you feel on that point. On these two things I have said, can you feel we suffer with our husbands?

You mean to be beneath them or equal to them?
Now, I don't know whether you could explain to us. As you have seen how we have lived...all these years.

Well, you are the one who can explain how you live, that ah…your views on how you live are OK.
But in our view, we have come under a system that is not from the old days. From the medium past. But we see that now, if we were following the old customs, it would have been too hard for us to manage. But these days, it is easier because we have got a little education. That is what gives us the heart to persevere...with life.
Section 18
How did that education give you heart?
Well, you can think, "”Now I have children, I have a clean house, perhaps if I just had the heart...a fickle heart, I can leave my children.”

Huh. So you think that those women who did not get that education...don't get a heart which is steadfast?
They don't get a steadfast heart.

Why is that?
Because she...she doesn't understand anything. Her brain is far. You're not together.

You mean it's far...?
Well, she thinks about far-out things, which are not in line with what her husband thinks.

Well, her thoughts are far-out. Now, you say your name is?

My name is Evaline Were.
Evaline Were?

You have done [good] by coming to visit us here. I think I am very grateful because my work is very difficult. And I see that even this speaking business also makes us sweat. You can talk until you forget what you were saying. But sincerely, I would like to say I am very grateful. Before, we were with the other young people (researchers) and we praised them a lot. Now I am very happy to be with you, a woman or a girl. I thank them a lot.

Thank you very much.
Spread my words well. There may come a time that we may meet there in Nairobi. I thank you.

Thank you, and when you are in Nairobi, where do you live when you travel? Do you have family there?
I have a brother who works...who works at the Bank of India. He is a young man.

All the times you go, do you live with family or do you sometimes live in a hotel?
Ah! We just live with them. Not in a hotel!

If they are not there, would you lie to stay in a hotel?
Ah there is not enough money.
Section 19
This money issue is hard.

They are expensive. Thank you very much.
Eh, I am grateful.
[there is a break in the tape]

OK, now did you sing when a woman had a child? Did the husband help to take care of the child or what was the custom?
Ha! The husband did not even come near that woman. When a woman had a child, her husband would leave to live far away, and leave her alone, because the old customs did not want a husband to stay with a woman who had given birth.

So, would he come to see her or would he just go?
No. After she had delivered, he would come and stay in the doorway and look...he would just look at his wife and then leave. If there were something, she would give him food, which was just milk. He would see his wife and then move on. Now, the wife...

So he didn't enter into the house?
He doesn't enter the house.

And could the woman leave the house to go and see him?
He could live in another house.

You mean with another wife?
If he has another wife he will live there. But if...he doesn't have another wife, he would just live in a certain home. Just a place to stay.

Now, in whose home?
A man friend's, they could sleep in the same place.

And then after a year and a half?
Until the child laughs.

Until the child laughs?
If he comes in and sees the child he does this with a stick [waving motions] to see whether the child will follow it with the eyes and then he will know that he is about to return to that house.

Oh. OK, and how long can that take?
It would take about four months. That is when he will enter the house, but he will still sleep elsewhere. He cannot come close to her. Perhaps it is when the child is sick that you can send a message to him saying so.

OK. And who would help that woman care for the child, or help her around the house?
That woman…to help her take care, there were her fellow women who would come to see her. They would bring her milk, firewood. That is the only help from the women that she would get.
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OK. And can that woman dig or do other work?
No, the mother could not do any work.

Until after how many months?
Let's say, it was until that year ended. They would really rest, not like now where a mother finishes four months and begins working. But in the past that rarely happened.

Why has this amount of time reduced?
In the past we see that they didn't have a lot of work, and many of them were not educated, because those who are educated today, work and someone (an employee) cannot stay at home for that length of time.

But those who were have work?
She is forced to go back to work. She is given that maternity leave, and when she finishes it, she begins her work. Even at her home, she works unlike in the past when there was no work.

So you are saying that these days, there are no women who would stay with me for four months helping me.
There is...if let's say I have some women friends nowadays, like in these women's groups who know that a certain woman has delivered, they will come. Two or three can come and rotate, until you get strength, before they go back to their own work.

OK. Oh ... and these days, do you see husband said like…you said that the husband could not even...look upon that child.

So, when does he begin looking at the child?
These days, the men can look. Even when the woman gives birth he can come to hold that child and see if it is a girl or a boy. And then he goes to do shopping.

He must know the sex of the child. Huh

Which do you think is better, these days or the past?
We think these days...because now, he will understand if perhaps you are sick or have a certain problem. You help each other. But in the past, you would stay alone, and could even die in the house without him knowing.

Huh. Alright. Now you said they would stay away for a year and a half...what purpose did this have for the family?
For the family?
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You mean where they would be apart for that year. Let's say that in the old days the men would live apart from the wife...that would prevent them from having another baby quickly. And for that reason too, they would drink that sour milk...they would keep it until it got very sour and then mix it with blood. They would give it to the women to drink. That drinking would reduce their physical desires because it would reduce their body heat. Compared to today, where we eat kimbo (vegetable oil believed to make people reproduce a lot), and people now have children one after another because this food today increases our body heat.

OK, so did the men also drink that milk...that milk which was...?
That sour milk...?

Yes...that was the main food of the time. We can say they didn't eat anything. Except the meat they ate, but that meat, they didn't even add salt to it. They would eat it plain. So think about what the people of long ago ate. They had problems, and that is why the women would rarely have two or three children, usually two or even one.

Because of that...I think because of those problems.

OK...oh...OK, thank you.

Now this living of...this living of women alone in the house...did women remain in those houses or at night ...would they leave or...?
Let's say that after a woman gave birth, she just lived alone. If she has her children, she should live with another older woman. But, after the woman delivered, they would put a stick at the door...he brings a stick and puts it outside...

On the door at night?
At the door of the house, so that it would be known that the woman in that house had delivered. So even when...the woman did not have permission to go to her husband's house. And the husband could not come into where the wife was.

And how would they prevent the women from leaving those houses, say at night?
The woman would abstain until she made sure she had finished that period before the child laughed. Then the husband could come in and see the child laughing, so that he could come in to her.

OK. And during that period...of one and a half years, if the husband did not have another wife, would he also abstain or what would he do?
He abstained.

These days, do you think this tradition can be possible? Do people abstain?
It would be difficult for it to continue. It is a problem for women because even after two weeks, they are with their husbands.
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Do you consider that good or bad?
We...on my side, I think that if we followed the old traditions, we women would have strength, because if you would leave the house when you have enough strength, rather than now when you have delivered, and after two weeks, your husband is there before you have regained your strength.

OK. Thank you.