I was visiting in Zambia for a month and had a great, great time. I met various and friends and I have not seen in a very long time. I heard some good news and some not-so-good news, but such is life.
Zambia is home, but having lived away from home for so many years has made me look at life in a totally different way. I guess that I am no longer as Zambian as I used to be. People change in their perspectives, and I have along with them..
One thing that shocked me was how distinct male and female roles are in Zambia. For example, men expect their wives to wait on them. This used to be fine with me before, but it is now surprising. Why can’t the man clear the table himself instead of walking all the way from the dining room to the kitchen just to announce to his wife that he was done eating and she should clear the table? I no longer understand it. The wife cooks, cleans, does the laundry and generally makes sure that the home is running well, whether or not the man is in formal/informal employment. The man’s duty at home seems to be that of relaxing and resting.
Of course, the man may later expect some ‘evening favors’ from the wife because he is so full of energy and rested. Culturally, the wife is expected to comply because it is her ‘duty’ to do so despite having run around the whole day and is exhausted.
It would be difficult for me to be in such a situation after having seen how domestic tasks are done in a non-gender based way in many western families.