Here, in Malawi, those two problems often do walk hand in hand. The people in this part of Africa have suffered from flooding in 2015 which severely depleted their crops. Furthermore, in 2016, the sun relentlessly baked down on the remaining seeds which were harvested from the previous year. This has totally wiped out any possibility of growing food.
Evelyn Eladi tells us her story. She was willing to tell us of the hunger she faces each day. Even though she has an acre to plant maize, in 2015 she was only able to harvest 25 kg of corn to sustain her family. 2016 was a year of total crop failure and Evelyn has asked for help.
Who is Evelyn’s family? Little Haswell is the youngest and got to come along with his mom as she walked to our distribution site. His older sister, Joyce stayed at home. Evelyn’s sister died last year, leaving 5 young children as orphans who are now living with Evelyn and her family. In September, Evelyn’s husband Tekson, left home to go to Mozambique to try to find some labourer’s work to help support his family. She has not heard from him since then. So, singlehandedly, Evelyn tries to care for her family of seven children.
Evelyn’s family just received 28,500 Malawian Kwachas (just under $40 USD) from World Renew. This is enough money to cover half of their monthly food cost. Evelyn hopes the money will cover the cost of food for their family, a little fertilizer for the maize seeds we gave her last week, and she hopes to pay a little towards some school fees for her oldest child. We know they will not eat much, but they will eat.
When asked what would she do if she had a day all to herself, Evelyn hesitated, not quite understanding what that would even be and replied she would like to sweep her house and wash the clothes.
I continued my walk and talked to more people. The faces changed…the stories did not.
Ireen Yahone is old and tired, but she has taken in her four orphaned grandchildren to feed and care for them. She hopes her seeds grow and that the money we give will help feed them until the harvest. She looks forward to buying some maize and beans for her family.
Matthais also has taken in his extended family and tried to feed them. He is proud of his wife and three daughters and he also has taken in his mother and his brother’s children so he has nine hungry people to try to feed. Matthais is very thankful for World Renew’s program of seeds and cash aid and looks forward to the harvest so he can sustain his family once again.