Like owning a home in the U.S., buying a plot of land in rural Rwanda is a major investment. Not all families can afford the purchase and will instead work on others’ land. But with their own plot, farming families can grow their own food, earn more on the sale of crops, and leave an inheritance for their children.
Odette and her family owned a plot of land years ago, but due to unforeseen medical expenses, they had to sell it. Without a safety net for emergencies, she and her husband struggled to provide for their four young children. Odette often felt alone in her poverty, isolated from those around her.
Five years ago, Odette joined a savings group through her local church. She has benefitted materially from learning to save, but an even bigger impact of the group has been relational—Odette has found a community of support and friendship.
A year after joining her savings group, Odette began working at an elementary school selling milk to students. She works six days a week, earning about $30 per month to help supplement her family’s farming income. This is what Odette’s typical workday looks like:
Up before dawn, Odette sends her 10-year-old and 8-year-old off to school before starting her hour-long walk to work. When she arrives, she cleans the school to prepare for the day there.
Local farmers deliver their daily milk supply, and Odette starts the time-consuming process of boiling the milk several times to pasteurize it. She then strains it—all 16 gallons! —to remove the top layer of cream.
Odette serves milk in individual plastic cups to classrooms full of eager schoolchildren. Afterwards, she washes out the jugs and cups, ensuring her work area is ready for tomorrow.
Odette heads home to prepare lunch, then it’s time for her savings group meeting. As the president of her group, she needs to arrive promptly. During the meeting, Odette reads God’s Word, worships through song, and puts money into a lockbox along with her fellow group members.
It’s time to clean the house and prepare dinner, a time-consuming process that starts with gathering firewood. Dinner is the most important meal for Rwandan families, and is often made up of ugali (a thick corn porridge), greens, and beans.
Odette works hard to provide for her family. And as she faithfully sets aside money with her group, her sights are set on a plot of land.
Would you join us in this 4-minute video prayer for Rwanda? We’ll pray for the nearly 500,000 clients like Odette served by HOPE’s programs in Rwanda, as well as for our staff; church partners; and the 12 million men, women, and children who live in Rwanda.
Leave a Reply