Real Women

Some of you may remember when my parents were here last year my dad commented that the women in the fields hauling wheat straw out were “real women”… and that my mom and I did not qualify as such. While I wanted so badly to be called a real woman, I didn’t want it badly enough to strap rough straw on my back and carry it through the field. Imagine that.


The past month or so has provided a few opportunities for me to merit “real woman” status. First, it was the preparation of a seed bed where I was forced into manual labor. To be fair, they were seed beds for a project I was wanting to do with the women, but since the locals don’t usually allow us to lift a finger, I was a little surprised when I was recruited and handed a shovel. Although, I really didn’t do much besides slap the earth with the back of a shovel,  I think it still counts toward building “real woman” character.


Then yesterday, when we went to the site, one of the workers was plowing and I saw my opportunity. I had been wanting to plow for a while, so I jumped at the chance when I saw him working. When I told him that I wanted to plow, he literally bent over laughing and slapping his knee. Too bad I wasn’t trying to be funny. After my pride got over being mortally wounded, I was ready to have him teach me. Much harder than it looks people, much harder than it looks! And those oxen have a mind of their own! My favorite part of the experience was that I was wearing an ankle length skirt, long sleeved shirt, and scarf covered head…oh, and chacos, because those are the best shoes to walk through a freshly plowed field in! There just might be a few crooked rows of peanuts when (if) they sprout where I plowed.  Afterwards, one of the other workers felt the need to inform me that his daughter plows at his house. Well, I guess that officially makes her a “real woman” then. One day, maybe I will qualify…until then I’ll just keep on trying : )


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© 2020 by Katie Murray