Mama Judith, 30 years old, lives in a male-headed extended family of seven in Korogwe District, Tanzania. Her family include her husband (aged 42), two daughters (aged 17 and 1), two sons (aged 11 and 5), and Dada Judith, her younger sister. Her eldest daughter and son go to school. Mama Judith’s highest level of education is Primary school. She works inside the house for six hours a day, and participates in a village group as part of the WDF program. Her husband is a builder.
Mama Judith’s major economic activity is farming. She earns some money when she sells her produce which enables her to cater for her family. She leaves for work at seven in the morning and returns at one in the afternoon. Some of her children assist her with the farm work. Mama Judith is sometimes involved in mobilising activities in the community, digging and weeding millet – these activities supplement her income, and in part are used to sustain the groups’ finances, as collective savings are then used to support individual members in case of need. Her desire to support her husband in taking care of the family financially motivated her to do paid work. Her options for generating income include selling food, clothes and drinks in a shop.
Yes I participate in community activities like meetings, funerals and weddings. I participate because I like to collaborate with my fellow community members and it is a must to participate. When I participate I get positive effects as I get to build good relationship with my fellow community members for example it was someone’s wedding and am the one who was given gifts.
Mama Judith does most of the household chores with the help of her sister and her eldest daughter. They provide support in cooking, washing dishes, mopping, collecting firewood, washing clothes, bathing the young children, and fetching water. Her husband and eldest daughter also help to take care of the children when she is sick. Once in a while, she gets assistance from a paid helper: ‘I also get the money to pay some labour to help me with household work.’ Her community also helps to watch over the family when she is at work. Sometimes the care work is too much and she fails to finish it, which means the children and her sister have to take on more care work, which makes them tired.
Mama Judith comes back very late from work, often without earning much money. Her boss lends her money if a difficult and urgent situation arises at home: ‘maybe when my kids are sent back home for school fees, or they are sick or that my family is experiencing some difficulty.’ She gets over-tired from work and yet she has to return home and do the household chores, especially cooking and washing. Mama Judith usually balances her paid work and care work but there are days when she fails to do so, especially if the activities are tedious and take a long time, for example washing clothes and going to sell rice. Such activities cause her fatigue.
Mama Judith is sometimes upset by the conditions at work – especially the low wages she receives despite putting in so much effort and time. This makes her unhappy. Her income helps to pay for essential things for the children like school items, hospital bills, school fees and buying household items. It is only when a child falls sick that she can’t leave the home: ‘The effects of care burdens on my paid work are that for example my child is sick I cannot go to my paid work because I have to take care of my child so my income decreases.’ She sometimes gets too tired because of all the care tasks and paid work she does. Her sister says that Mama Judith gets very tired from doing a lot of activities, and stays hungry for a long time when she is doing paid work.
I would like my sister to work outside home so that I can be able to help her when she has too much workload. Also she will be close to the children and me also the family in general if there is any problem then it is easy for her to solve and help us. (Dada Judith)
Mama Judith prefers working conditions that are favorable for development: ‘I should be able to acquire clothes for the kids, food to cook.’ She believes cooperation at home could also help make life better and easier, saying ‘I think cooperation in my family, we could make money and also do the household chores’. She also suggests that the community could form groups that help each other with care activities, such as day care centres. She also suggest the government should build schools, health centres, support the needy people, provide loans and farm tools.