Marie-Pierrette has a pain inside that is so great she can barely contain it. “I had a child who died,” she says of her miscarriage at seven months. She went on to have two further miscarriages, earlier in the pregnancy, most recently six months ago. Babies are everywhere, but not for her.
She talks of what being childless means in a village where having children is a deeply held expectation. “It’s hard,” she says. “but you have to face it, cope with it. There are three of us in the village who have the same problem.”
Let down by her body, Marie-Pierrette is now trying to control the things that she can, like her home environment. Her toilet, in particular, offers an opportunity for her to express herself, the promise of perfection that is more easily attainable.
Constructed from bricks and cement with a corrugated iron door and straw roof, every aspect is carefully considered. “I am most proud of the shape,” she says, “quite small.” Inside is ordered and spotless with a handmade, straw broom stitched together with white thread, which she replaces as soon as it looks worn, a wooden bucket and a small shovel for ash (which acts as a natural air freshener). “I wash and clean it every day. I try and do my best,” she says.
1/5 Marie-Pierette’s toilet may be small, but it’s perfectly formed.
“It’s hard to not be able to have a child. There are three of us in the village with the same problem.”
2/5 Marie-Pierrette talks about being childless.
3/5 Marie-Pierrette lives with her Rakoton Finirina Nantenaina and her brother.