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May 19, 2004

Modern African Mothers

Emily Wax's article about marketing strollers in Kenya is worth the full read.

"There are customs from a hundred years ago that are not relevant today for Africans. Our challenge is to pick the good from the bad," said Carol Mandi, managing editor of EVE, an East African women's magazine. "But carrying on your back, well, that is just a wonderful custom that keeps the baby emotionally stable and lets the mother feel bonded. We can't stop being African women just because we are suddenly thrust into the modern world. What next? They will tell us to stop breast feeding in public? No way."

Honestly, you need to read the whole story.

Thanks to The Liberal Media for e-mailing me about it. *grin* He knew it'd be one that sparked my interest.


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What's really funny about this is that the ads the Post placed directly beneath the end of the article were for all these modern devices we stuff our babies into (strollers, highchairs, bassients, etc.). Someone oughta recommend they read their articles before they place ads around them :)

You know I've always wanted to know how those women did wrap their babies so they stayed put. I've always wanted to try it, but was afraid the cloth would unravel and my baby would hit the floor, and that would be bad :( I tried a snuggly with #1 but couldn't get it on without help from hubby. I tried a sling with #3, but she hated it, was always trying to get out of it. So in my life, for the most part, it's EITHER the baby is being held or stuff is getting done... And #4 makes sure that more often than not, it's "the baby is getting held" and I rather like it that way :)

Posted by: AutMom at May 20, 2004 07:07 AM

Further what kind of idiots are doing the marketing of these things? You can get a decent stroller HERE for $60, and that's with US wages. If I had to pay half a month's wages for a stroller, you'd better believe I'd be figuring out a way to wrap my baby to my back! Why would anyone pay that much of their monthly budget? Still it sounds like it is to the babies' advantage that the marketers are dumb - because winds up meaning more contact with mom.

Posted by: AutMom at May 20, 2004 07:12 AM

Great article - thanks for the link!

It really got me thinking...we use a "sit&stand" double stroller when we go out (for errands or to the park) for my younger children - 5.5 and just-4. As I don't drive (and wouldn't have a car available during the day, even if I did drive) we walk a *lot*. Half the time the my 5.5yo walks as we load up the stroller with library books, groceries, jackets and stuff. I can't imagine not having one! If the little ones had to walk to and from the park (takes us 50 m. to get to a decent, clean park), they'd be too tired to play!!

When they were infants I did carry them a lot, but I got tired easily. Maybe it was all the c-sections :(...

Posted by: Liza Q at May 23, 2004 01:06 AM

Hi, Liza Q! Haven't seen you in awhile! I used to joke that my double stroller was the extra set of hands everyone said I needed with so many little ones. They certainly *are* handy when you have lots to carry besides a baby.

AutMom: Here's instructions for an African style baby carrier. I found the MayaWrap Pouch to be really easy to use and #4 liked it a lot. (I carried #1 a lot in my arms, and used the stroller a lot with #2 and #3.)

I'd like to get a German didymos or Mexican rebozo if we ever have another baby.

Posted by: TulipGirl at May 23, 2004 02:05 PM

Thanks for the instructions! I'll let you know how it goes when I try it.

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