Friday, November 5, 2010

African Culture for babies

Living here in Africa, I have discovered that Africans are not shy about telling you how you need to take care of your children and what you clearly are doing wrong. Recently, my dear friend and Taylor’s former nanny, Bantle, came to visit us to see Bradyn, so I thought I would ask her some questions culturally about what Batswana people do/expect after having children.

  • You should stay inside your house for 3 months with a new baby. As we were coming home from South Africa and entering into Botswana, I was again reminded of this by a Batswana lady and I tried to explain to her that I was just trying to get home after having the baby. My neighbor as well told me this when she came to visit, so Bantle just said culturally the women here after having a baby will normally stay inside for 3 months and just eat, sleep, rest, and take care of the baby without going outside of the home. This is also a time in which the father is not around and can only view them from a window if he needs something. SO that said we are trying to stay in as much as we can as not to offend anyone culturally. Bantle did say if it’s the 2nd child that it could just be 1-2 months. We have not booted Brent out though, he is still inside the house helping out like the wonderful husband he is.
  • Holding a baby with an umbilical cord still attached is taboo. Bantle did tell me that not everyone believes this is taboo. She did say when the umbilical cord falls off that it is tradition to shave the babies head, mommy’s head, and put all of the hair and the umbilical cord into the toilet. Wow, definitely not participating in that tradition!

All of the Africans point out how big Bradyn’s nose is, so I try to say nicely that we love his nose and it’s the traditional “Martin” nose. I am trying to just take things in stride and not be offended as it’s their culture to be very blunt. Too funny!

We truly do love living here and learning about the people and all the different cultural aspects. We definitely want to learn the culture and how to appropriately share the Love of Christ. 

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