Subsistence living cycle Subsistence limits role Subsistence farmer hero Subsistence struggle mindset Independent subsistence style Reduced family life styles
The first chore of the day in rural Africa is collecting water, which is normally done by the women balancing containers on their heads. The women also grow the food, usually without any mechanical aids, even ploughs. Women farm the bulk (70%) of Africa's food. Traditionally the man's job is to sell the women's produce. Fertility and children remain at the centre of rural marriage. Large numbers of children improve a household's labour pool and provide security in old age. Injectible or implanted contraceptives are popular with women because they can be used without their husband's knowledge, although for many contraception is an abstraction. A typical Ugandan woman has rarely seen her husband in the ten years they have been married. She lives in the village with two other wives and has given birth to five of his 13 children; he works and lives in a town with another wife.
Subsistence is a goal and not the result of deprivation, which has often been the modern interpretation. In most traditional societies a subsistence economy means that everybody gets sufficient to fulfil their basic needs with the minimum amount of work, minimal throughput and minimal ecological disruption.
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