Makai’s story is not uncommon in the Mandera area of Kenya. She has lived through times of plenty and seen her family grow and prosper, but her world was forever changed a few years ago.
“Before my husband passed away, we used to be one of the leading livestock traders in Takaba, with overwhelming numbers of camel, goats, and cattle. After his death, I was already suffering and then we suffered a lack of rain for three consecutive seasons.”
ADRA targeted 500 households in the isolated Mandera region of Kenya with a combination of food aid, agricultural training, multi-story gardens, and support for sustainable food production.
“Most of the earth pans dried and 75% of my livestock succumbed to the shocking drought. The remaining animals were emaciated and I had to sell them at a throwaway price to support my eight children.”
You can see the hurt in her eyes when she recounts the pain and anguish of not just losing her husband, but the subsequent loss of her livelihood, and the difficulty it caused her family.
“Livestock used to be the only source of livelihood for our household. Skipping a meal was therefore not avoidable as eight children were too much for a vulnerable widow,” says Makai.
Her face changes and her eyes look up as she begins telling her journey with ADRA Kenya. “God sent to us ADRA Kenya and I was considered to be among the 40 beneficiary households.”
ADRA provided Makai’s family with food but, more importantly, worked with her to plant a garden of diverse vegetables. Having this sustainable source of produce means that her and her eight children have a constant source of nutrition.
Makai proudly shows us her flourishing garden of kale, tomato and spinach; full of greenery amongst the background of red dirt.
When the family has extra produce, they are able to sell it for income as well. “I am selling three leaves of kale at Ksh. 20 (USD$0.22 cents), I have been able to earn more than Ksh. 800 (USD$8.88) in the last three weeks.”
“ADRA Kenya has also supported us with enough seeds and I am now planning to establish nurseries for the second crop of kale, spinach and tomatoes.”
As a widow and a mother, Makai faced an uncertain future. But because of her hard work and partnership with ADRA Kenya, Makai and her children, can look forward to a future full of hope.