As we consider the results of the 2 month trip, it’s amazing to realise that AID AFRICA/Open Hand Projects is continuing to affect the lives of so many in the impoverished rural communities.
Much was achieved in food security, water restoration, increased nutrition, moringa and vegetable planting, community projects, and tree nurseries. We were able to help many with medical treatment, transport to collect their ARV’s (AIDS treatment), and emergency food. We funded small businesses, built houses for the frail, new goat & chicken kholas, extended our education programme, and distributed blankets and clothing kindly knitted by friends in the UK.
Katherine is a young widow, HIV+, with 2 children at primary school. We met her during our earlier trip this year, hungry and desperate. Due to her poor health, she had been unable to dig her field last autumn ready to plant maize, so had no harvest to feed her family. We gave her some emergency food, but on enquiry we found she had a small piece of land, suitable for irrigation. We encouraged her to make manure, then supplied quality vegetable seeds.
The Katherine we met this time was a glowing example of how just a little input can reap huge results. She had planted the seeds, cared for them, and the resulting vegetables had added much-needed nutritional value to the family’s diet. Then she sold the surplus produce at market. By the end of the season, her family was thriving and she had managed to build herself a little house!
She came back to us and, impressed by what she had achieved, we issued a Small Business Loan of 3000 kwacha (about £15) to enable her to start a rice business. She’s now doing well, preparing delicious rice meals for local traders, and able to care for her own family too!
However, disaster struck when a violent storm and a night of thundering rain brought the new house down as the roof was about to be fitted. Distressed and in despair, she recognised that our budget for the house had disappeared in the rubble, and it was unlikely we could rebuild. However, concerned for her family, we eked out enough to build again, this time in burnt
bricks for longevity and
trength, and her new
home was almost
complete as we left.
We planned to build a couple of small houses—one for Modester, a frail elderly widow, whose tiny house had half-collapsed so she was trying to live in the other part, and the other for Annie—a 33 yr old widow, HIV+, with three young children. Her house collapsed in the last rains and she’d been homeless ever since.
When she learned that we were committed to build her one, she was both ecstatically happy and relieved, with renewed hope for the future.
We replaced nine roofs for the particularly frail, before the torrential annual rains started.
a 33-year old widow, HIV+ with 3 small children, in the debris of her collapsed house
Annie’s house -
This is page 5 Autumn trip 2009