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Script 57.8

Script

Characters

Andhra Naidoo:
Woman farmer, Ali Naidoo’s wife.
Ali Naidoo:
Andrha’s husband.

MUSIC TO INTRODUCE PROGRAM (Program Theme Music Runs 30 seconds then fades under “coming up” headline…).

Host:
Coming Up … “Making Ends Meet”… a drama about how one family budgets for lean times …

MUSIC (Program Theme Music … bring up theme music and run for 10-15 seconds then fade as host introduces program …).

Host:
Paying for food, clothing, and a place to live … No matter where you live in the world, it costs money just to survive. For many people, making ends meet is a struggle.

For many families, not being able to pay for basics, such as food, shelter, school fees or good medical care leads to malnutrition and sickness. To meet the challenges of day to day living, families are often forced to split up, with one family member — usually the husband — going away for long periods of time to seek work elsewhere. Sometimes waiting for money during these long absences can put an extra strain on the family budget.

This is the challenge faced by Ali and Andhra Naidoo in today’s drama, “Making Ends Meet.”

MUSIC (Lively music played loudly … run music for 10 seconds …).

Andhra:
(Shouting over the music) … Hello … hello …!

BRING DOWN MUSIC AND RUN UNDER DIALOGUE.

Ali
: Andhra! At last you are home…

Andhra:
Yes, I was delayed coming from the market because the road is in such bad shape. Ever since the rains, the holes in the road are deeper than usual. What is this loud noise? At first I thought I was coming into the wrong house…

Ali:
This is not noise my dear. This is music. Come see what I have bought for you and the children.

Andhra:
What is it?

Ali:
(Proudly) It’s a stereo! And it has good sound too. Just listen…

MUSIC VOLUME GOES UP.

Andhra:
Please, Ali. Turn it down a little! My head is still spinning from the noise of the market and the bus ride coming home.

MUSIC VOLUME GOES DOWN AND CONTINUES SOFTLY UNDER DIALOGUE.

Ali:
Well? What do you think?

Andhra:
Umm, it looks nice. Where did you get it?

Ali:
I bought it in town.

Andhra:
You what?! You bought it? It looks expensive. Ali, why would you do such a thing?

Ali:
It is a gift for you and the girls. These stereos were very popular the last time I was working in the city. A lot of people had them. I vowed then that we must have one too. We will be the envy of our neighbours.

Andhra:
How much did it cost?

Ali:
Oh, don’t worry yourself about that. I’m the head of the house remember? I’ve been saving a little bit here, a little bit there to get you this special gift. Now you will have really good music to keep you company while I am away.

Andhra:
Thank you for the gift Ali. I do appreciate the thought. But now how will we meet our expenses while you are away working in the city? It seems to me that if there is a little extra money right now perhaps we should put it towards some more practical use. Ali, can we just shut off the music for a minute?

Ali:
Oh, all right.

MUSIC STOPS.

Andhra, sometimes I think that you are just too practical. Haven’t I always left money and other provisions for you and the children when I go?

Andhra:
Yes, Ali, we both work hard to make sure there is enough to keep the family going year round. The money you leave is very important, but it never seems to be quite enough. There is always some unexpected expense and the prices keep getting higher in the market. Even though I try to budget to make the money last for the whole six months that you are away, the last few weeks are always especially difficult.
Ali:
Yes, yes, I know. You have mentioned this before, but you always manage to pull through. That is one of the reasons why I consider you to be a good wife.

Andhra:
I try Ali. But it is very difficult. And I worry that one of these times I won’t be able to pull through. This year we have Tewfik’s school fees to consider as well. And God forbid if one of the children were to fall ill and need medical attention. We have no extra money in case of emergencies. We need to budget a little money for emergencies.

Ali:
So now my own wife does not think that I am a good provider.

Andhra:
Of course I think you are a good provider. It is just getting harder and harder to make ends meet. Everyone is struggling these days, Ali. You know that. I just think we need some sort of plan.

Ali:
Well, maybe you are right.

Andhra:
Perhaps when you hear what happened to Sarika Patel today you’ll be convinced. I heard about it in the market.

Ali:
Go on. What happened?

Andhra:
Her husband has sent her home to her family in disgrace.

Ali:
What? I’ve always thought that Nafis was proud of his wife.

Andhra:
He was until she sold a cow without his permission.

Ali:
Now why would Sarika do such a foolish thing?

Andhra:
She was desperate Ali, not foolish. She needed money for her sons’ school fees. They were so far behind with the fees that the school authorities said they would not allow the boys to continue until the fees were paid. It means they would have had to repeat a whole year. Nafis was away for three months. Sarika didn’t know what to do, so she sold one of their cows. Only thing is, Nafis says it is his cow not theirs. He was furious when he found out.

Ali:
So even though it was for a good cause, he is punishing her for overstepping her bounds.

Andhra:
Yes. Now both families will have to meet to settle this dispute.

Ali:
No doubt Ali will insist that Sarika’s parents buy back his cow.

Andhra:
Probably.

Ali:
But why was Sarika so foolish? Why didn’t she go to Nafis’ family for help?

Andhra:
She knew his family did not have much money. She did not want to burden them with the big school fees.

Ali:
I think she should have sent a message to Nafis to ask him to send extra money.

Andhra:
But Ali! Think how long it would have taken to get a message to the city where Nafis was working. And then she would have had to wait for a reply. What if Nafis could not get the money on time? Sarika knew that she and Nafis had the cows so she made a quick decision to sell the least productive cow in order to protect her children’s future. I can understand it. I hope that I do not find myself in that situation when you are away Ali, but if I do, we need to have some sort of plan.

Ali:
What do you mean?

Andhra:
What I mean is, I would like permission to sell one of our goats in the event of an emergency.

Ali:
I don’t know. Such decisions are better made by the man of the house. If not him, then his family. I don’t know whether you can handle that kind of decision.

Andhra:
Oh come on, Ali. Who is managing the whole household on her own while you are away for months at a time working in the city? Who is raising the crops and taking care of the children and tending the animals? Hmm? Who is making all of the other decisions? Well?

Ali:
Okay. Okay. But, I still think you should consult with the family if there are problems.

Andhra:
Of course I would if there were something serious happening. But deciding whether to sell a goat to pay important bills is not such a big decision that it should require a family consultation. What if there is an emergency that needs quick thinking? I don’t want to be arguing with the family over whether I have the right to sell the goats that I feed and milk every day.

Ali:
I don’t know. What will the family think?

Andhra:
They will think that you are a smart man who plans ahead, if you present it properly. Make sure that everyone is informed in advance that these are the arrangements you have made for me to take care of the children and myself in case of emergency. It isn’t as though I’m going to sell a goat every day, Ali.

Ali:
(In a joking manner) How do I know that the power won’t go to your head?

Andhra:
Well, I promise you this, Ali — I won’t sell a goat to buy the family a stereo!

MUSIC (Bring up lively music from the start, run for 20 seconds, then fade …).

Acknowledgements

Contributed by: Adiat Junaid, Researcher/Writer, Canada.

Reviewed by:  Beth Miller, Gender Specialist, Heifer Project International, Arkansas, USA.

Information Sources

Sisterhood Is Global Institute/L’institut pour la solidarité internationale des femmes, 1200, Atwater Avenue, suite 2, Montreal, PQ, Canada H3Z 1X4.  Tel: (514) 846-9366, Fax: (514) 846-9066, E-mail:sigi@qc.aibn.com

The Third World Network

UN Radio Feature Programs: Weekly Program on Women’s Issues

Women Watch: – United Nations website on women’s issues.