Left behind

In the town of Beguedo, many women don’t see their husbands for years at a time

A women cycles with her child along a road in Burkina Faso. (Reuters)

In the rural town of Beguedo, Burkina Faso it has become traditional for the men to leave home for work in Italy. Some wives relocate with their husbands, but tighter immigration policies, high cost of living and limited work opportunities in a post-financial crisis economy make that plan impractical for most. And so half of the town’s wives are left in Beguedo on their own for years or even decades, and their husbands send home money when they can. It used to be it took months to organize marriages in these rural communities, as a suitor would have to work in the parents’ fields, gain their trust, and demonstrate that he could provide for their daughter. But with the men in the village only coming home from abroad for weeks at a time during holidays, matches are now made in weeks or even days. Some women have been finding ways to stay connected with their husbands, such as one wife who uses Skype. Others find their husbands growing emotionally distant, or even taking new wives (the community’s Muslim traditions permit polygamy.) It used to be that those men who ventured abroad would return to build houses and buy vehicles for their families. Increasingly in Beguedo and other similar towns across Africa, these migrant workers can’t even afford their plane ticket back home.

Read the full story at the BBC.

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