Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Nature of Nurture

A neighbour’s dog recently broke my dog’s leg. To those out there who are in the dark about breaking of legs in the African context, this essentially means that some dog recently made my dog pregnant. I only realized this about two weeks before she got her puppies. Seven unplanned puppies of different colours came out of her one Thursday night in early November.

At first, she was very possessive and would not let us go within a few inches of her. She practically didn’t eat for the first two days, concentrating on her puppies, cleaning and nursing them. In the next two weeks, she got bolder, leaving them to go do whatever dogs do elsewhere. In the weeks that followed, she left the puppies more and more; sometimes just moving away to lie in the sun, at other times, walking off to the neighbouring houses or just lying outside the gate in wait for any family member coming back home.

Over the last few days, as we weaned the puppies, I noticed that our dog had become thinner. She wasn’t getting enough to eat as the pups would eat their share, and a bit of what she left for later, and still nurse. I also noticed something rather extraordinary; as she realized that her puppies were eating more, she started refusing to nurse them, and got very fierce when they approached her bowl of food.

This scenario reminds me of women in the role of wife and mother and teaches me a lesson I’d like to pass on. Many times, women take on the role the sacrificial lamb, morosely walking toward their own slaughter.

When there is little food, women eat last; their dreams, pleasures, desires, needs and wants are met last. Sometimes women are bitter at their husbands, children, and the world in general. Surprisingly, it is the women, who set these standards. We set the kind of relationship we want right from the commencement of each relationship, be it with our husbands, children, relatives or colleagues. Women have more control over family than they give themselves credit for.

Right from the time women begin a relationship with a prospective husband, we set the standards of respect expected and given, levels of importance of self, our career progression and path, how we will handle the in laws, relatives and children, etc. Think about it, it is all in our hands.

The lesson for me here is that there is no good in being a giver if one cannot be receiver. As women, we should remember to nurture ourselves first, emotionally, psychologically, physically and intellectually to be able to give these same traits to husbands, children, colleagues and others. You cannot give what you do not have.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Where Did They Go?

Where once there was peace
and love for your neighbour
Where once in less was abundance
for in sharing, even less was much

Where once the children were ours
None starved while others ate to their fill
And the youth too were ours,
moulded to a people with great self esteem

Where once the aged slept in warm beds
unafraid of unlived tomorrows
Where those who were sad
would not be let to drown in their sorrows

Where are those people who cared so?
Where are they whose footprints we followed?
Where are they whose words once were imprinted in our hearts?
Where have they gone?

PoP 13 Dec 07