Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The elders

N'arba and grandchildren grinding berries

There is another section of the population you might be curious about: the elders. These people are among my favorites. The life expectancy in Niger is not very high--I forget--is it even as high as fifty? So there aren't a lot of older men or women. However, there are many senior citizens in my village who, in my eyes, may be experiencing their happiest and freest years. Take N'arba, for example, my daily companion and adoptive parent who accompanies/leads me in my rounds. She is close to seventy; her kids are grown, her husband passed away. For the first time in her life she has the freedom to walk around the village whenever she wants. She can mouth off to everyone, men included. People listen to her, her family feeds her...she is living it up. It is so cool to walk behind her and imagine what it would've been like to follow her around twenty, forty, sixty years ago.


Marilyn said...

What a beautiful picture...and neat to think of these friendships Jessica is making with all ages (as usual). Very cool.

Anonymous said...

Niger has one of the lowest life expectancies in the World. I believe it's ranked 203 out of 217 countries. You can compare it against other African countries in this map.

Kerry said...

Thank you. Both of the above links are great.