Bertha didn’t think that this day would be any different. She woke up and kissed her husband goodbye as he left to earn a day’s wages, and he left her with the care of their five children. But he never came home, and her life changed in one instant. Because of the local customs in her town, she and her children were now homeless and had no way to live. Her husband is the one who supported them, but he was gone now, and it was up to Bertha to do what she could for her children.
She returned to the village of her birth, Nthiramanja, and was only able to secure a small, one-room structure made of mud and thatch. They cooked, slept, and studied in that same room, but because it was a dirt floor, the family was always sick. Malaria, diarrhea, and countless illnesses plagued the struggling family. The roof leaked in the rain, and because the rainy season could last for four months, they had to pack up their belongings and try to keep everything dry.
“When it rained, we used to pack up all our things as if we were going away. We did this to protect our belongings from getting wet.”
The rain ruined the children’s school books, and they eventually stopped going to school. The rain destroyed their latrine as well, making every day even harder than the last.
But the Orphans and Vulnerable Groups program heard about Bertha’s situation after speaking with the village chief, who felt that Bertha could use the most help.
The group built her a four-room home, there was a clean toilet, and rain didn’t pour in through a leaky roof.
“We won’t stop taking care of the house. We’ll treat it as a child.”
When the floods came, I was in the new house. I wasn’t worried because the rain couldn’t come inside the house. That made me feel secure. With this house, we had no problem, right until the floods ended.”
Don’t ever stop being grateful for the things that you have. They could all disappear in an instant.
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