'Life was difficult before' Densa tells me. She has a strong face and broad shoulders but doesn't smile much. As I listen to her story I begin to understand why.
Densa's husband has died and two of her five daughters are now dead. Her elderly mother Josephine shares her homestead. When we arrived I saw her crawling on her knees. She can't walk because her right foot is missing and her left foot has no toes. It's poignantly sad to see her reduced to moving like this.
The Bible encourages us that 'to look after widows and orphans in their distress' (James 1v27) but the question is how. Natural compassion would be to give her something and that would help short term. But a more lasting response is needed, perhaps 'wise compassion'.
Densa has been inspired to make the most of opportunities as a result of being trained on church and community mobilisation (CCM). She takes us along a winding path to see the results around her home. We pass some of her 12 new goats grazing in the bushes. At the end of the path is a field she has planted with maize. It's 2 'fedans' (each 60m by 70m) and she will sell the crop. She has started a small business where she sells cooking oil, salt, beans, coffee, soap and onions.
These are modest changes that make a big difference to her household. 'Now I am able to pay for school fees for my children and don't need to fear that they will be sent home'. I ask her about her vision for the future. 'Before I grow too old I want each of my daughters to have a permanent house'.
Life is still not easy for Densa's family but hope is breaking in.
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