Tuesday, January 29, 2019

A social gap

I thought I was just taking a picture.  I asked permission, got the permission and snapped a picture of a man selling cloth to women.   Some of the women held up the cloth for me to snap it.  It was a quick shot of normal everyday life.  End of story?

Then a Nigerian colleague who is spending a year with these people took another picture using the seller’s own phone.  When I saw the picture on his phone I thought it was quite strange.  He had cut out the people buying and selling and even the cloth completely.   All you could see was me with the man.  Was it a mistake?  When I expressed my surprise at how close the picture was, he explained.  “In this culture, men and women have a gap.”  

I realized it was true.  I only saw men sitting with men, and women at the borehole with women.  In another interview someone told me that a man and his wife don’t even share finances with each other.  Traditionally, they hardly even spend time with each other. 

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