In talking with a student nurses group, the issues of multiple wives surfaced along with the feelings of jealousy and advantages for women experiencing this custom.“My father has three wives who all live in separate parts of the house. At first, it was uncomfortable; but later, the women felt that they had more women with whom to share the work, and to call ‘Sister.’ As for me, I would not like to participate in this custom. Our generation is getting away from this, and not entering marriages where men feel this way. About one third of marriages still practice this tradition. Often women secretly hope their men will not become wealthy and own many cattle, because what follows is the status and means to have more than one wife.
Eve,an ambitious student nurse with expressive,hopeful eyes stated: “Joy and happiness for me is to have good women friends. We understand each other”. Eve stated that what she wishes for is “to raise the level” of her life, get a good education and job, and live meaningfully. Currently, the average life span of a Ugandan woman is approximately 39-41 years old. Life conditions, health standards, diseases, hard work, and general poverty take its toll. It seems important to not only change the conditions of life, but also the motivational attitude to do what one can to improve, even under a
seemingly hopeless situation. I would think lack of motivation in some way
may demonstrate a fear of being caught in a situation of unfulfillment in a country which does not support the individual in any real way. Fears of being used, being discounted as unimportant, of territorial thievery, of violence in the name of power or greed run deep, particularly among those who remember horrific attacks on their villages and people and those who have seen and understood the real motives of a government that doesn’t care if
its people die.