Climate Change and Motherhood

CLIMATE CHANGE AND MOTHERHOOD: (first in grandmother’s week series)

During this period of celebrating mothers, I want to also honor all the grandmothers out there that have done the child-raising thing not once, but time and over again.

This gorgeous Wodaabe grandmother seemed like a true queen as she “reigned” over her roost exclusively filled with moms and their children. This matriarch coordinated everything from her seat on her mat, always with a grandchild in lap.

Since I was investigating the water conditions in her community, I asked her how conditions were different when she was a child. She lamented: “my parents had thousands of animals. No one traveled to Nigeria to make money back then. We didn’t need to. We had the rain to give us water, and our animals to provide milk.”

As an adult, she was the first in her community to travel to Nigeria and Chad to sell traditional medicines in order to compensate the loss of animals caused by drought and desertification.

“Today, all my daughters leave our village with the hope of making money elsewhere. They leave their children behind with me. It isn’t easy. No, it’s just not normal. We are Wodaabe, and our wealth lies with our cows. But all that is changing. Worst of all, our mothers can’t even mother anymore, as they are too busy working far far away to keep their children from starving.”