I feel like this is a generational thing. Our grandparents think our parents had it easier while our parents think we had it easier and in turn, we think our kids are having a walk in the park.
I know for sure my grandma didn’t have it easy. She and her sister did all the chores, no questions asked. She married young and unfortunately was also widowed young and I still don’t know how she managed to raise my Mum and her siblings but she did.
Mum says they grew most of the food. They had some cows and goats and also reared some poultry so the children had the occasional milk, eggs and chicken. They didn’t have running water or power.
Most days, they walked to school and once in a while, took the bus if grandma sold some baskets and mats she’d woven. The children were expected back home from school in good time to fetch water, wash their uniforms, prepare dinner and do their homework all before dark because the kerosene lamp wouldn’t last all night. Fast forward to my Mum.
I was raised a little different. We had power but no running water or family car for a while. We had a good Radio and later a Black and White TV. No Landline/home phone as some lucky kids I grew up with.
I only got my first Cell Phone at University! Today’s kids have Smartphones! I did some chores around the house like cleaning the dishes, sweeping the compound and I did fetch some good amount of water but luckily, there were some young boys in the neighbourhood who made a quick buck fetching water and selling it to households.
It was cheap and Mum would buy 6-8 eight jerrycans and that usually got us through. We had a big tank and during the rainy season, we were good. Soon, piped water was more accessible and eventually, we also got running water and only struggled when there were water cuts.
I didn’t get a lot of pocket money for school and my Mum didn’t buy everything on my requirements’ list. I was lucky if I got a new pair of shoes or new school uniform every term. I’m sure Kids reading this are wondering how I made it! Most parents want the best for their kids and want them to have what they themselves lacked growing up and so we have some cases of over indulgence where parents can afford to spend on their kids and you worry for the less privileged kids who can barely afford the fees.
Can’t do much about that. School Meals are also better. We had to do with the bland Posho and Beans and occasional rice, cassava or potatoes. There are schools today that serve close to a Buffet daily!
While we grew most of our vegetables or bought them from the local market, today’s kids can get almost everything at the Supermarket. Depending on where you live, some fruits and veggies are ready to eat or just need to be warmed up and you’re good to go.
I’m sure there’re kids out there who have no idea where eggs come from. They don’t know that a hen lays some eggs which are then sold to the Supermarket or that someone somewhere milks a cow and delivers the milk that Daddy or Mummy later bring home among other groceries.
Mobile phones are allowed in school these days. You risked suspension and even expulsion if you snuck a pocket radio into school in my day! Today’s kids are encouraged to carry their iPads and Laptops to school! Girls can grow their hair, braid, treat or style it however they want.
They can wear jewelry and fancy shoes. We were restricted to closed shoes. 3 inches at the most. Black or Brown.
Now it’s a colourful world with different shades of greys, greens, reds or whatever. I kind of wish I had as many options growing up!