Let’s See Those Knees

My mom, brother Bjorn, me, and sister Molly

Well, there’s a blast from the past for you! It really doesn’t have a whole lot to do with this post, except that we’re showing off our knees.

Yesterday, I mentioned to some good Zambian friends that I wanted to buy some knee pads for our maid. Our whole house is either wood, tile, or linoleum (I think?), and we would like to start having our maid clean all of the floors by hand a couple times a month, instead of by mop every time. Naturally, we thought that if she’ll be on her knees half the day, it might be nice to have some padding. 

I guess it was a nice thought, but when we mentioned the idea to our friends, we basically got laughed at. They explained that women are meant to work. They were given hands to scrub with, knees to bend on, and feet to walk on. And the more calloused and dirty they are, the more hard-working and, therefore, beautiful they are. 

Apparently, in the village, when a marriag-able woman shakes the hand of a man, one of the first things he looks for is how calloused her hands are. It is not common for women to show their knees here, but if they did, men would be looking for signs of “use.” 

So, we didn’t even go looking for knee pads. In fact, by having our maid do the floors on hands and knees, we’re actually doing a service to her and her husband by making her more “attractive.” Who knew?!

One response to “Let’s See Those Knees

  1. Edna Williams

    Amazing how differently we view our world!!
    Thankfully I grew up in Wisconsin!

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