The pauper grave and the lavish funeral are notorious symbols of the
popular culture of death in the long nineteenth century. As the extracts
above demonstrate, the two funerals are easily juxtaposed as binary opposites in a literal and metaphorical sense: burial in a private grave was
the ‘cornerstone’ of respectability whilst to have a body buried on the
parish was to bear ‘a lifetime’s stigma’.
The most touching picture I have ever seen was taken around 1887. A young mother is holding a beautiful six-or
seven-year-old girl in her arms. Both are dressed in their funeral finery. The little girl is dead, her long blonde ringlet
curls falling over her mother's arm. The mother is looking directly into the camera and you cannot bear to look at her
heartbroken eyes and you cannot bear to look away. This picture, more than anything I have seen, says grief is not an
intellectual exercise. Grief breaks our hearts and hits us like ocean waves.
In the traditional region of Northern Nigeria, Pathfinder has struggled to promote the use of modern
contraceptive methods to delay and space pregnancies. Traditional communities in this area generally see
children as a gift from God and, assured that He will provide for their families, resist limiting their family size
or spacing women’s pregnancies. Sexuality is not openly discussed, so reaching families with RH/FP information
and services has been difficult.