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Families and communities are important in all cultures and societies, and on the continent of Africa, they come in many shapes and sizes. Zainebu’s family is quite typical.

Zainebu lives in a town in Niger, where most people speak a language called Hausa. Every morning, Zainebu wakes up early and takes two large containers down to the water pump at the end of the street. There she fills the containers up with water for her family so they can take their morning baths. She needs a lot of water because not only do her brothers and sisters have to take baths, but also her mother, father, grandfather and three uncles. That’s just her first job of the day. She will be busy until sunset. She usually goes to the water pump with her younger sister Hannatu.

The girls live together in their father’s family home along with their mother, brothers, sisters, uncles and grandfather. There are four small houses in their family home, and this is sometimes called a compound. Zainebu and Hannatu’s mother has a small house in the compound where she sleeps, along with her children. The father has his own house, and the grandfather has a house, too. The fourth house is a kitchen, where most of the cooking is done.

The family members help each other with everything. If someone is sick, another member will help with the farming or looking after the children and elderly members.

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