[Paleopsych] BBC: Ethiopian Man With 77 Children Lectures on Birth Control
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Thu Jul 28 21:44:20 UTC 2005
Ethiopian Man With 77 Children Lectures on Birth Control
Polygamy no fun, admits Ethiopian
By Mohammed Adow
[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.
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
His wives have given birth to more than 100 children but 23 have died.
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
"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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