Call it a CULTURAL SLAP, maybe.
However, I was laughed at today, in my own home, and on my own smartphone.
My wife has been down with Malaria, the first treatment did not work, so we are now on to a second treatment with a very powerful drug, and if this does not work we are going to have to hit the 450 km to Bamako for serious tests. Needless to say she is not feeling well.
I have been managing our African home, while keeping a concerned watchful eye on my sweetheart. I have been her nurse, some are joking about me being her “Man Slave”, and that is all good fun. But nothing is slavery when it is offered up freely for love, now is it?
Since we have friends passing though our Malian town today, I was up early preparing a fish chowder for them when Madelyn arrived to scrub our floors. Madelyn is here every second morning for a half day. She arrived and had this foolish grin on her face when she walked into the kitchen. I greeted her in Bambara, but she was obviously very shocked to see me cooking in the kitchen. For the next hour, every time she passed the door, the look of amusement on her face made me want to…… I tried ignoring her smirks, but it bothered me.
I continued on the preperations until my phone rang. It was a Nigerian I knew, he wanted to come over for a visit. I explained to him that Lynn was sick, I have guests coming, but said he was welcome to come and visit. Simply be aware that I am very busy in the kitchen right now in the middle of making dinner preparations. His Nigerian laugh started, and it lasted way, way, too uncomfortably long for my liking. If I could have, I would have reached into the phone with a stick and poked him in the eye.
I felt like telling Madelyn,
“You as a woman are so under appreciated, used, and abused in this culture, and you don’t even now it. So culturally brainwashed into thinking that men not only can’t cook, but that men should not be cooking, she can’t even see the lie.”
By now I was very pissed off about the whole scenario. I did not appreciate being mocked for helping my malaria ridden wife.
By 9:00 AM I had all the dinner preparations accomplished, so I stepped into my office to work. But I was still pretty miffed for being laughed at from two sources. I just sat there a few seconds. Then I picked up a book of prayer someone from Burkina Faso gave me recently. It was sitting there on the corner of my desk, and no kidding, here is the first thing I read in that prayer book today.
“Accompany me to-day, O Spirit invisible, in all my goings, but stay with me also when I am in my own home and among my kindred. Forbid that I should fail to show to those nearest to me the sympathy and consideration which thy grace enables me to show to others with whom I have to do. Forbid that I should refuse to my own household the courtesy and politeness which I think proper to show to strangers. Let charity to-day begin at home.”
So go ahead and laugh Malian Madelyn, you to, Nigerian Ibrahim.
“I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” (Harriet Tubman”
Enslaved to a cultural patriarchy that uses women, and the young unmarried girl, Madelyn, herself, helps reinforce it. This is my prayer for you too, Oh Mali. You go right ahead and laugh as I help Lynn.