30 Before 30: Mampuján Style


There is a popular article circulating around the internet about the 30 things every woman should have and know by the time they are 30. As someone who is preparing for an especially intense annual birthday crisis on June 16, I read the article with interest, only to find myself almost laughing out loud.

The majority of the recommendations have hardly anything to do with the life I am currently living, and absolutely nothing to do with the life of the women I am in contact with everyday.

Therefore, I have compiled my own list of 30 before 30, but based on the women of Mampuján and their understanding of what things are important in their own life. Enjoy!


You should have:

  1. A husband. If you don’t have a husband by the time you are 30, there is something seriously wrong with you.
  2. Children. If you don’t have at least three or four children by the time you are 30, there is something seriously wrong with you.
  3. A washing machine and a sharply honed ability to beat clothes with a stick until they are clean.
  4. The ability to braid and straighten hair in a myriad of amazing ways.
  5. A cell phone that your husband and kids don’t use all the time and the resources to buy minutes every once and a while.
  6. A plan to have lots of grandchildren to look after you in your old age.
  7. A plan to finish high school by studying at night now that your kids are old enough to look after themselves a little more.
  8. A close extended family, living nearby, who serve as your social support system.
  9. A great pressure cooker to cook beans and rice in.
  10. Unlimited supply of firewood.
  11. A motorcycle or at least a significant other with a motorcycle.  
  12. A blender.
  13. A bedroom for just you and your husband, without kids or grandkids.
  14. A way of earning income, whether that includes selling ice, popsicles, or Avon.
  15. An understanding that your husband is the absolute head of the house and the ability to develop your own way of being within that relationship.

What you should know:

  1. It is always better to be with someone else then alone. No matter what.
  2. If your soul needs soothing, it’s because you haven’t gone to church the requisite 6 times a week.
  3. Most official promises don’t come true, so if you want something, you have to fight for it.
  4. All of the best places to find fruit within the community.
  5. How to make frozen popsicles and ice to sell.
  6. Family planning and its importance in not only your own life, but that of your family.
  7. How to turn any kind of fruit and most kinds of starches into juices, using only a blender, cinnamon and sugar.
  8. Exactly what everything at the store should cost and how to get the best prices on anything.
  9. Soup. How to make buckets and buckets of soup.
  10. How to move your hips, either in the local cantina or down the aisle of the church during service. Included in this: the fine line between dancing like a “sinner” or a “Christian”.
  11. How to use a machete to chop firewood and kill snakes.
  12. Where to line up and sign up to get subsidies on education and health, for yourself and for your kids.
  13. Your part in the community gossip chain.
  14. An intimate understanding of the way things should be done in your community and the ability to call others out if their actions are not lining up.
  15. Never let another women cook on your stove. 


4 comments on “30 Before 30: Mampuján Style”

  1. I love it! Don’t worry, I don’t have very much stuff on the other list either, and I’m only two years away (and in my current job I doubt I’ll have them by that time!) Awesome, that’s all I can say 🙂

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