Friday, February 12, 2010

Sheilla and Bright

Sheilla is the youngest member of the Bitengye Designers, and is 22. She has a daughter, Viola, who is 3, and here she is with her six month old son, Bright. She lives here in Ruharo, in a small mud hut with her mother. Her mother has been ill for sometime, although feeling much better this year, and Sheilla is her caregiver. Her sister and niece have come to stay with their mother while Sheilla attends the workshop. Recheal has a neighbour to look after her 3 year old until the other children come home from school, at which point Christia, who is 8, looks after all four children. In Kikagati, the cook had a one-month old baby, whom she strapped to the back of her 10 year old daughter, to look after while she was working. And this is much more the norm - babies strapped to the backs of children who have barely left babyhood themselves. There's something to be said for the older children taking responsibility for the younger children (when we were first married, David was newly returned from Burundi, and saw no reason we shouldn't have twelve children, because of this very thing!); but is vastly different from the responsibilities we give to our children back in Canada.

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