The ones we don’t listen to, “Women, of course”, Manompana, Madagascar (09)

November 14th, 2013

Fishermen voiced it : women are important. To care for the house, for weaving bags or mats with reed, to cook rice or plant. Macho fisherman? Not at all. In the bush, the human being utilise their capabilities at their best for the group’s survival. Maintaining your day to day need all involves hard-work and endurance, and women and men together realise what their stamina is best for. So he fishes, cuts the firewood, turns the soil with his bare hands, and work at building the house. She fishes but only at the water’s edge, never offshore, even less snorkelling, frightened by the ocean and the Lolo, the spirit of the seabed. She picks up material to braid, plants out sprouts of rice, cooks the fish, collects water in buckets, and looks after the kids. All these activities are spontaneous. She realises how essential it is for each one to take his role.

Women laughs heartily, drink and sing together, dance as soon as a given moment appears, yell at their husbands when they deem it is necessary and participate in family decisions. Often they take the finances.

They are also worthy. Just like Kakmamosa, doyenne of the village with over 80 years of life in the bush. She left her husband a long time ago, do not have children and she is ” living her life ” as it sees fit. Free, yes, despite the difficulty of life : “If you do not want to beg, we must act. For your dignity too. ”

Note: between October and December 2014, the sociologist who led the project with fishermen of Manompana village is hoping a new search with women.

(An introduction to the series “The ones we don’t listen to” is to read HERE)


DIESS photo :


Diess took a picture of the women while they are pounding Penza (reed) in order to make it supple.

DIESS comment : “I took this picture to express how important is it to have a woman. They are the one doing plait and looking after the house. The young woman you can see on the picture (on the left) is training. She watches, we teach her. If one day she wants to get married, she will need it. Braiding is the women main occupations. And when the rice is coming, they take care of everything at home. Man jobs is to get Kitainy (firewood), supply the house, looking for money, dive, while women have to carry out the work at home.”

Note : Diess evoked women is the post 03 : “Velon-Tena, the body alive”


SERA’s photo :


Sera’s picture shows Bertine, his wife, braiding a mat.

SERA’s comment : “It is really important to have a partner in life. What woman can do, family can’t (1). If I am sick, my wife looks after me. She prepares food, takes me to the health centre, takes  care of the house. They are as well the one who are going to braid when rice is coming. They pick up Penza in swamp, they pound it, dry it, braid it (to make bag) until they will put in on their head (to carry rice). This is for all these reasons that we really need a woman.

(1) : It is a Malagasy proverb.


ZAFIAMRO’s photo :


ZAFIMARO’s comment : “This picture, my wife asked me to take it.  I agreed because it shows how life is difficult. She told me : “take a picture while I’m braiding bags because I have to do it by night”. During the day, she goes to the field, she picks up manioc (1) and when she comes back, she look after the house.  Evening is the only time left to braid. She is doing a bag we will use to harvest rice. She is using pandanus she picks up next to the beach. In five hours, she can braid 2 bags. She braided 10 bags this year, it was enough for the harvest (2)”.

(1) : Sophie, Zafimaro’s wife,  goes to work as a labourer and is paid with manioc or rice. Betsimisaraka population call this way : the Valintanana.

(2) : Zafimaro and Sophie harvested 20 bags of rice in May this year.

Note : Narasson is not married but evoked the women’s role in the post “Velon-tena, the body alive”. Ida didn’t talk about his wife during the interviews.

THE END of the series “The ones we don’t listen to”.

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