Archive - September 19, 2023

“Water” by Rachel Schneller (Mali 1996-98)

“Water” by Rachel Schneller (Mali 1996-98)

Water   When a woman carries water on her head, you see her neck bend outward behind her like a crossbow. Ten liters of water weights twenty-two pounds, a fifth of a woman’s body weight, and I’ve seen women carry at least twenty liters in aluminum pots large enough to hold a television set. To get the water from the cement floor surrounding the outdoor hand pump to the top of your head, you need help from the other women. You and another woman grab the pot’s edges and lift it straight up between you. When you get it to the head height, you duck underneath the pot and place it on the wad of rolled-up cloth you always wear there when fetching water. This is the cushion between your skull and the metal pot full of water. Then your friend lets go. You spend a few seconds finding your . . .

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