Ruth never thought she would be a single mother when she married her husband, Smiley. They began their partnership happy, and worked hard to save money for the family they hoped to have. Simley was a mason’s helper, and Ruth earned money by cultivating other people’s land. Together, they saved enough to buy land, began building a house, and started a family.
Soon after the birth of their second child, Ntagisanimana Araf, Smiley, began drinking and abusing Ruth. Sometimes Smiley would beat her so badly Ruth thought he was going to kill her. This continued while Ruth was pregnant with their third child.
When their third child, Ntagisanimana Amina, was just one month old Ruth fled her abusive relationship. She took all three children and ran off to another village with just the clothes on their backs. Someone helped her rent two small, dilapidated rooms in the back of a house, and they have been there since 2014.
Ruth tries to earn money by buying vegetables in Murara village and walking two hours to sell them in the Congo. However, since Covid and border closures this is not possible. When we visited Ruth, she was four months behind on rent, without any food in the house, and living in constant fear of being evicted.
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