1) MY ROOTS
2) TIYEDA OR THE VOICE OF THE VOICELESS RURAL WOMAN IN THE ARID LANDS OF NORTHERN TOGO
3) THE DELICATE ASPECTS OF THE RURAL FEMININ VOICE
4) BE THE SIGN OF THE COMING RURAL WOMAN
On women in general in the world and particularly about African women, everything has already been said and written. What else can I add today? Yet there is still much more to be said and written about women in the world.
For me Tiyéda deeply rooted in this rural Africa, (CHAPTER ONE), I have chosen to be the voice of the voiceless rural woman in the arid lands of northern Togo (CHAPTER TWO) and to lead a life defeating all hopelessness of rural women: KUNAYE (CHAPTER THREE)
I have chosen to be the sign of this rural woman to come (CONCLUSION)
CHAPTER I: MY ROOTS
My parents originated from Natoun, a small rural community in the poor arid lands in the north of Togo, meaning “a region once populated by buffaloes”. On foot they migrated to Ghana and settled in Accra where I was raised.
I became aware of the life of my people through the stories my father told us. These stories gave me the desire to look for my roots, to discover the beautiful landscape, these courageous men and women at work on the poor lands, the herds of cattle taken to pasture by young shepherds, the huge trees majestically stretching their arms into the blue sky and bringing with them beneficial rain to mother earth, the captivating flora, the different kinds of wild animals etc.
Never did I stop dreaming that I will one day be there in this village. My dream became a reality when I met Séda who was on his visit to Accra coming from these poor lands.
So as a couple, once settled on the poor arid lands of our people, we started revitalizing this hospitable arid zone. Convinced that working differently from our parents we can transform poverty to wealth, encourage the youthful population to take over the abandoned lands and go back to organic farming, we dived into this ideal natural farming.
As a wife and mother, I was interested in the fate of the voiceless rural woman, perpetual carrier of firewood and harvest.
CHAPTER II: TIYEDA OR THE VOICE OF THE VOICELESS
This voiceless, futureless, rural woman from the arid lands of northern Togo becomes the portion of my heritage. I fully accept this with humility and commitment to enlighten, awaken, drive away fear and gradually bring them to create a rural women’s movement giving them economic management tools.
These women belong to the impoverished social class in the village, their only living environment. Under these conditions a helping hand is the unique solution to opening the gates to their horizon. So to revitalize and channel their energies they are oriented towards an ancient social form of organization which in olden days played an important role in community building. Today the virtues of this traditional organization are ignored. This is called “KPATURU”
To be in a “KPATURU” means uniting efforts in the fulfilment of a task that cannot be successfully accomplished by an individual. In this way a whole family, a group of people as well as a community can come together as a “KPATURU” to organize field work, commercial activities or crafts in a rotative manner.
“KPATURU” means friendship in rural activities. This friendship unites efforts, empowers the members through learning from each other and building their capacities. It generates the creation of common as well as individual wealth, helps to discover and create in an atmosphere of mutual and holy emulation.
The women, enlightened and trained through this ancient social organization, have recovered their dignity, their voice. Often the training programs are initiated in cooperation with the women for the women. These programs relate to the healing of their beings, restoration of the degraded land, environmental protection, promotion of the naturally assisted regrowth, capacity building and market oriented activities. In this way they have strengthened their technical production abilities allowing them to correctly feed themselves, their families, as well as the animals they raise. This consequently, creates improved healthy conditions of life for them through the better economic conditions and their participation as full partners in the family’s decision making.This work of capacity building of the women in their activities also strengthened their social and economic activities in general bringing forth new life in the community, their rural environment. A typical example is related to the production of surplus yield due to soil fertility. This is sold and the money saved in the women’s bank for future purposes.
Despite all these frailties are still challenges to be defeated permanently.
CHAPTER III : THE DELICATE ASPECTS OF THE RURAL FEMININ VOICE
Ignorance, received ideas, jealousy, the voluptuousness with which common goods are hoarded, incomprehension, the spirit of assistantship, lack of self confidence and confidence in others as recommends the traditional organization.
Permanent enlightening through well established programs awakens and brings awareness that the development of their community solely depends on them as full members, dwellers in this community.
Life is made up of the awakening of the people and not the realization of life problems.
This permanent work of receiving, listening and enlightening the people helped reduce the problems they have in life and went as far as healing an insane woman (Madame KOUNAYE) to the astonishment of all. This shows how strong love for the humble is, can erase problems, heal, transforming the human being to a living seed.
BE THE SIGN OF THE COMING RURAL WOMAN
With Séda it was a bet to transform poor lands to lands of fertility and abundance. Our 30- year-work-experience has driven away poverty in the community of Baga and Natoun allowing fertility to settle on both sites once considered unproductive.
In the light of this example, I am convinced that the poor hearts of these women from arid lands will become fertile through our presence among them and on their turn fertilize their families, environment and region.
Even if I am not able to reach this goal, I will still be in this environment the sign of what a woman can become: A living seed for her and humanity.