Mama Justine (50 years old), lives in an extended male-headed family of six people in Lushoto District, Tanzania with her husband (60 years old), her mother, Dada Justine (60+ years old), two sons (19 and 20 years old), and a five-year-old daughter. Two of her children go to school. She is self-employed working on her own land, which is between one and two hours walking distance, and she works for twelve hours a day: ‘I get to my paid work late because I have to walk a very long distance. I get too tired because of walking a long distance.’ Her level of education is Primary. Her husband is involved in paid work and is a farmer. Mama Justine and her husband are the only income earners in the family.
Mama Justine’s main income is from farming and selling her produce. She financially contributes to her family, for instance through paying school fees or when someone is sick, she pays for the health service or hospital fees. She farms the land and rears livestock though she feels she doesn’t get enough time to focus on these activities. Her family feels good about her source of income because she can provide for them what they need: ‘I feel good about my daughter’s work because I am able to get all my basic needs’, says her mother. Mama Justine mentions that life was tough in the home and so she decided to do paid work, which she agreed with her husband and mother. Other options for her income could be selling charcoal and also having a nursery of trees for sale. Her husband contributes in buying school uniforms, paying school fees and buying food for the family.
Mama Justine does several care tasks including cooking for the family, washing clothes, and feeding the family. Her mother helps to feed the livestock, sweeps, and sometimes cooks when Mama Justine is not at home. Mama Justine’s children fetch water when they are back from school, wash clothes and collect firewood, in addition to cutting grass. Going to the farm consumes much of her time: ‘collecting firewood takes time also because I go very far.’
She does not get adequate time to complete care tasks at home and do farming and rearing at the same time. Due to her heavy paid and unpaid workload she rarely gets time to rest. ‘She comes back home late which worries me about her safety since she is walking alone and through the bushes to get home’, says her mother.
Sometimes Mama Justine fails to combine her paid work with her household activities and leaves them unfinished to go to paid work. She has at certain times not been able to cook for her children and wash their clothes due to her involvement in paid work: ‘She gets too tired from doing her paid work and unpaid work at home’, says her mother. Participation in community meetings affects much of her paid work as it takes much time and she has to walk long distances to go back home:
I get home very late so I can’t do any other activity as it is already night. Sometimes I get confused on how to decide what I have to do first and what I should leave and do it later.
Mama Justine feels that she should distribute home activities so that everyone at home has to do some activity reducing the workload on just one person. Also that the community should form women’s groups to share ideas and get educated on how to reduce unmanageable workloads and how to balance their paid and unpaid activities at the same time. She also suggests that the government should improve transport so farm products can easily be moved to other locations for sale.