The Korean woman had no baby sitter unless her mother and father lived with them. Often times she would carry her baby on her back all day while doing her work. Pictured is my sister Gwen helping out with babysitting a neighbor's child.
She would have to go to the outdoor street market several days a week to buy food to prepare. She prepared Kimchee and stored it in big earthenware jars underground for the whole winter until the spicy hot cabbage dish was somewhat fermented and ready to eat.
By: Dr. Rodney T. Hard
In post war Korea, life was tough for everyone, especially the women. I remember taking many trips with my father to small country churches where he was invited to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His saving grace. I remember seeing how difficult people's lives were and how hard a woman had to work just to maintain a household and take care of her family.
The wife got up at 4:00 AM in the morning and started stoking a wood or charcoal fire in the little stone and clay fire pit in order to start breakfast. The morning meal before farmers went off to work in the fields all day was the most important meal of the day.
When breakfast was ready several hours later, the man of the house would eat first. When he was finished and went off to work, the wife and kids would eat what was left over.
Now, in the United States in 2016, I drive by houses that have a car in front, a roof, central air, central heat, running water, electricity, a washing machine, a clothes dryer, a fully equipped kitchen, indoor bathroom facilities, and a satellite dish on the roof. The residents have free Medicaid health coverage, food stamps, and rental assistance. I marvel inwardly when someone tells me that these families are living in poverty. I guess it is a matter of perspective.
But the laundry was not done with the precious water she carried home. She took her clothes to the nearest stream or ditch and did her laundry by hand on the rocks. Imagine what kind of waste was being dumped into the water upstream of these women.
Here is a mother 'ironing' in her house made with whatever could be scrounged up and a roof made with rolled out flat tin cans.
After washing the clothes and hanging them out to dry, she had to 'iron' the clothes to smooth out the wrinkles. She did this by beating the clothes with big wooden bats on a big flat rock.
Often, the little children had to baby sit the littler children.
If you were a farmer's wife, after doing the household chores, you had to go help with the farming.
The wife did her laundry the same way in the winter in the freezing cold water. You can see the snow on the rocks.
She often had to travel a long way carrying the water on her head up and down the mountain.
She would often have to weave her own cloth so that she could make clothes for the family.
Children started early with women's work. These young kids are digging for edible roots to take home for the next meal.
In order to cook the meal, she had to go out and spend a whole day in the mountains each week just to find sticks and twigs on the ground to use as kindling. She carried the big bundles down from the mountain on her head.
This was a typical Korean kitchen with a dirt floor. Notice the pile of kindling on the right and fire pits on the left.
In post-war Korea, many people lived in makeshift houses since the war destroyed their original homes. This woman is coming home from the market with groceries.
Dr. Rodney T. Hard
The family needed water to drink, to cook with, and to bathe in. So, the women had to go to the nearest well and pay money to fill their buckets and carry them home on their heads.
From: POEMS OF KOREAN REMEMBRANCE
By: Nelson Hard
Flattened tin cans
Shingle frail cardboard shanties
Pictured here is a poor woman preparing food on a rock in a makeshift house with straw mats for walls.
COntent of this site copyrighted 2016 by Dr. Rodney Hard. all rights reserved.