[Paleopsych] BBC: Ethiopian Man With 77 Children Lectures on Birth Control

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Ethiopian Man With 77 Children Lectures on Birth Control
Polygamy no fun, admits Ethiopian
By Mohammed Adow
BBC, Ethiopia
[Thanks to Laird for this.]

An Ethiopian man with 11 wives and 77 children is urging people not to follow 
his example and is giving advice on family planning and contraception. After 
seeing his fortune disappear under the competing demands of his enormous 
family, Ayattu Nure, 56, even urges people not to get married. "I want my 
children to be farmers but I have no land, I want them to go to school but I 
have no money," he says.

But his eldest son has not heeded Mr Ayattu's advice and he has three wives.

Share wealth

Seven of Mr Ayattu's wives live in huts around his compound, which are in 
urgent need of renovation.

Another four live in huts on the other side of the valley in Giwe Abossa 
village, 300km from the capital, Addis Ababa in Arsi region. He says he cannot 
remember all his children's names but tries to work out who they are from their 
mothers and which huts they live in.

Mr Ayattu says he used to be rich and wanted to share his wealth around, which 
is why he took so many wives. But now he struggles to feed them all. "I feel 
like killing myself when I see my hungry children whom I cannot help," Mr 
Ayattu says.

His wives have given birth to more than 100 children but 23 have died.

School photos

However, he blames Ethiopia's government for not doing more to help him look 
after all his children.

"I know I have done wrong by marrying many wives and begetting many children 
but I think I deserve help from the government."

But his biggest complaint at the moment is with the authorities of the local 
school which 40 of his children now attend.

They want photographs for each of his children's files, which will further 
deplete his meagre resources.

He says that he tries to share his time evenly between his wives and children, 
adding that although quarrels and squabbles are common, they try to solve their 
problems amicably.

"People see me as a funny man, but there is no fun in my condition. I am a 
desperate man struggling to survive," he says.

Although Mr Ayattu's eldest son, Dagne Ayattu, does not have a job, at the age 
of 33, he has seven children and is about to marry his fourth wife. But he says 
he will not have as many children or wives as his father.

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