I mentioned this a bit in my previous post, and want to explore it a bit more today: women with babies tied to their backs. It’s awesome! During my first few days in Burkina, I spent a fair bit of time and energy trying to stare without women noticing I was staring, figuring out how they tied these babies to themselves so securely that they’d confidently ride bikes or motorcycles or carry big bags of things in both hands or on their heads, or walk for miles on end without fear of baby falling.
One day I looked out the car window and saw a lady bending down as if to do a toe touch, with a big swath of cloth draped over her. It looked like she was about to tie the cloth, and it looked like there was a baby-sized bundle under the cloth. Surely it wasn’t that simple? But yesterday I saw it again: sure enough, all a woman does is put her little one on her back and bend down, let go of the baby and grab the cloth, tie him/her in real tight with a few big knots in front, with the most important knot being, shall we say, high up on the chest.
The cutest thing is that when they do this, the baby’s feet stick out the sides. If you’re looking at a tied up lady from the front, you see her, cloth tied over her clothes, and two little tiny cutesy feet.
And I know I’ve already said it but I’ll say it again… voilá! That baby has become a part of mummy, just like when mummy was pregnant, though honestly the women seem so unbothered that it seems wearing baby on her back is less exhausting than wearing baby on her front. This even though I’ve so far seen children at least up to the age of two this way. That cannot be a light burden, and yet these women just go on living their lives as if they’re not carrying someone on their back!