Mama Janice is 37 years old, and lives in an extended household with her husband, Baba Francis (47 years old), two daughters (18 and 4 years old), three sons (15, 7 and 4 years old) and her mother-in-law, Dada Janice (74 years old). Her eldest three children attend school. Mama Janice herself is educated to primary level. Her husband works as a farmer cultivating beans, maize and yams. He and Mama Janice both occasionally do daily wage work farming on other people’s gardens.
Mama Janice earns her income by selling produce from the family’s farm in the market, in addition to working on other peoples’ gardens. The income helps her to contribute financially to taking care of the family’s needs:
Through farming, I am able to buy food for my family and also pay for my family’s medication when someone is sick.
She works for eight hours each day, and farming takes up the majority of her time. She explains that in the farming business, the seasons are unpredictable and this affects their yields; however, better quality seeds are expensive to buy:
We have a small piece of land in the valley. I wish we could get a bigger chunk of land, I would do more farming. I have had people talk about using fertilizer but I cannot afford it.
In terms of her options for paid work, Mama Janice says that she can do any type of work as long as it is reasonable and does not give her a bad image in the community.
Mama Janice does all of the unpaid work for the household, including the cooking, washing and cleaning, and taking care of her family in general. Her mother-in-law, Dada Janice, contributes to the care tasks by looking after her grandchildren. Baba Francis decides the arrangements for the family when Mama Janice is away for paid or unpaid work, but her mother-in-law is always in charge of the children’s welfare. When Mama Janice’s eldest daughter, Bindi Francin, is at home she takes over responsibility for doing the care tasks such as cleaning, cooking, and fetching water, but on a daily basis Dada Janice substitutes for Mama Janice. Mama Janice says,
My mother-in-law, Dada Janice. Like mentioned before, she takes care of all the children here at home, some of the children belong to my other sisters. The rest of the activities are my responsibility.
Mama Janice says that she is supposed to do all of the household activities, but sometimes she is unable to do all of the tasks in the time available. She likes to participate in community activities because the community members help each other. She also makes time to attend social events held by family and community members such as weddings and funerals. She notes, however, that participating in these events does not affect her paid or unpaid care work – it is just a formal thing that they do. She further says that she manages to balance both the household activities and her farming work. She also states that she is able to take good care of her family, such as providing them with food, clothes and scholastic materials.
Mama Janice notes that her family feel bad that she does both paid work and unpaid care tasks, because the combination is tiring for her. However, she says that her participation in paid work does not negatively affect anybody at home, and nobody complains. She instead feels happy that she is able to work and raise income to contribute to the household expenses without affecting herself or anyone in the family. Although paid work consumes much of her time, she is able to plan and manage her time satisfactorily.
Mama Janice suggests that the family should do care activities together and not leave them all for one person to do. The community is not aware of how the care activities are distributed in the home. She would like the government to provide her with better seeds so that she can produce better quality crops. In addition, she would like to be able to take out a loan so that she can do something else apart from farming, such as running a small business. She also believes that the government should provide health centres near to her house and provide water facilities, too. Dada Janice also expresses that ‘the government should help us old women and give us loans so that we can also be able to help ourselves survive.’ Although government services are fairly standardised across Tanzania, access to key services such as water sources and transport, are often limited or problematic. Services also vary depending on location, for example, electricity is accessible in urban areas but not in rural. Also significantly, there are currently no childcare services provided by the government.