Uzarama David and Ntakazarimara Judith were so flustered during a visit from members of the Inshuti of Rwanda team that they were confusing the names and ages of their five children. “You stepping into our house is a miracle because nobody in this village ever comes to our house because we are poor,” they explained. When we told them in 2018 we would be back to build their house they said, “We are now seeing the heavens opening.”
David never had a chance to spend much time in school, only attending up to P5 before being orphaned in 1992. However, he found work on other people’s farmland and saved enough to buy a small plot of land of his own in Kabare in 1999.
He married Judith in 2000 and continued to work hard and save money, eventually earning enough to construct a small, two-room house after their second child was born. However, the birth of three more children has made it challenging to add rooms or improve the home. They have no windows, a roof made out of sticks and old clay tiles, and are lacking a proper, sanitary pit latrine.
For work, David chops up old eucalyptus stumps after the trees are cut down. He dries the wood and then sells it for firewood. Some days he only makes 100-200 RWF (100 RWF is about 12 cents in US dollars) and those days they can only eat a few potatoes. If he is lucky, someone will buy 600 RWF of firewood but that happens rarely.