Florence and her husband, Theophile, know what it means to work hard to try and make a better life for their family. Seven years ago while cultivating a man’s land, he offered them a deal where he would sell them a piece of his land for 500,000 Rwandan franc ($515). It was agreed they could work off their debt instead of paying with money. Everyday for two years, the couple worked hard to pay back the loan, only receiving a small amount of money to buy food.
The land was finally theirs but Florence and Theophile were too poor to afford materials to construct a house. In traditional Rwandan culture, there is a practice called Umuganda which can be translated as “coming together in common purpose to achieve an outcome”.
Seven years later, the house remains unfinished and in disrepair. The house was never cemented, nor the floors and the roof is full of holes. Their pit latrine is extremely unsanitary putting this family at risk for communicable diseases.
Everyday, Florence and Theophile look for jobs cultivating other people’s land or hauling water for brick makers. Since they can not find work several days a week, there is often no money for food. When this happens, the family sleeps the entire day as a way to avoid feeling hunger pains.
Sadly, all five of Florence and Theophile’s children are very small for their age due to years of malnutrition. The family can not afford school uniforms and books which are mandatory to attend public school. Although Florence and Theophile have worked hard their entire life, everyday is still a struggle