If your typical weekend includes waking up early to go shopping for food stuffs for your parents before racing back home to cook for your children, then you are part of the Sandwich Generation.
Sandwich generation refers to people who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children.
In Rwanda, the sandwich generation is quite the norm as one can hardly hear of homes for the elderly like it’s the case in the more developed countries.
When planning for a monthly salary and you realize it includes a budget for both your family and that of your parents, then you are part of this generation.
Juggling with a job, children and elderly parents can be hectic, since it comes with a lot of responsibility. Like everything else in life, the sandwich generation has its pros and cons.
A generation of middle-aged adults is becoming gradually more caught between the demands of providing care to their aging parents and that of their own children.
This phenomenon is fast becoming popular all around the world though some people believe it is rather frustrating and a huge burden.
Whereas it might be a lot of work for one to juggle with work and two demanding families, it also comes with blessings. Taking care of your parents is the greatest reward you can ever give back to them for raising you and seeing you through all the years.
One also learns to be selfless if they are taking care of their parents. You might never be able to see the magnitude of what you’re doing while taking care of your parents but it’s quite big and so are the rewards.
Inès Akaliza, a mother of three and resident of Kabeza says the term sandwich generation is unheard of but majority of Rwandans are part of this generation.
“Today, so many married couples in Rwanda are looking after their parents and siblings besides their own families. It’s what is expected really. Our parents take care of us and when they grow, it’s always our turn to take care of them,” Akaliza says.
She adds that she is currently having her old mother stay at her home because of her poor health that requires constant monitoring.
Akaliza says that the bad side is that it’s quite an exhausting task but worth it because there is no greater gift to one’s parents like taking care of them.
Johnson Mugabo, a father of four and businessman says that the sandwich generation is good and common in Africa.
“When you travel abroad, people take their parents to homes of the elderly which isn’t common in Africa. This would look like neglecting your own parents if done here,” Mugabo said.
He said that the sandwich generation is a growing trend here and it is the best gift children can give to their parents by taking care of them.
“Today, so many married couples in Rwanda are looking after their parents and siblings besides their own families. It’s what is expected really. Our parents take care of us and when they grow, it’s always our turn to take care of them.”