Firewood women

As I was moving boxes and boxes of our material goods into our house, I
was confronted with a strange site. Walking through my backyard, and
then next to me were two women. Two unknown women, walking through your
gated and guarded compound would be a strange incident by itself. But
these women each had what must have been at least fifty pounds of
firewood in the form of long branches each about 5-10 feet long bundled
together and balancing on top of their heads. They looked about 16
years old, and one also happened to have a baby strapped to her back.
Despite my utter surprise and amazement, I said good morning to them
and then asked what they were doing. She casually replied, "Collecting
firewood." They then walked down the driveway and the guard opened the
gate and they left. It was so weird. I later found out that one of the
women was the wife of the previous gardener and he had been collecting
this firewood while he was here. A brief visual survey by yours truly
would put firewood collecting as the number one job for women in
Malawi. So seeing this was no big deal in and of itself, but seeing it
at my house totally threw me.

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