We love sharing the lives of the local people who we work with because we believe that, this way, it is easier to know the country and its circumstances. Beatrice Kantine, one of the “queens” of the Maramba farm, which is the social business with whom we work in Zambia, tells us how she got here.
She was born in 1939 and, although she began studying in 1964, when she was in 7th grade she had to leave school because her father died and there was no one else who could pay the school fees. From this moment her life changed completely, she had to go live with her cousin and his wife and couldn’t do anything with her life until she was married, back in 1973, with a policeman with whom she had, no less than five girls and four boys.
In 1982 she started working as a preschool teacher until 1989. In the end she was lucky because at that time there were many jobs and few people had gone to school, so it seemed a good idea to finish the last year of primary school with the aim of expanding her employment posibilities.
A few years later, in May 1994, her husband died, forcing her to move back to her village. There and that same year, two of her children died as well.
It seemed like it was time for a change and she decided to return to Livingstone. She spent some time without working until she started selling beans, flour, African brooms and rice in a market in Maramba, a community which would later be important in her life…
According to Beatrice, she arrived at Maramba Home Based Care (MHBC) in 2004. “Someone asked me if I could join the MHBC group as a volunteer. I thought it was an interesting project and I’m still part of it today.”
The MHBC group was, for many years, a platform through which the non-stopping increase of AIDS in the population (close to 30%) was fought. Thanks to this project there were houses to welcome and care for the sick in all of the districts of Livingstone. They worked hand in hand with the medical centers.
“During all this time I have received many positive things from this group and I have also learned a lot by being part of it: to raise chickens, to grow vegetables, mushrooms…”. Part of Beatrice’s day takes place in the MHBC farm where there are continous challenges to face. For example, she says, “it is difficult to keep the mushrooms growing and they do not work well, but we try to make it happen every day”. It is also not easy to sell the crops and it is the most important thing because that is where the benefit, which is then reverted to the community, comes from.
KUBUKA has been working with these challenges and many more since 2014. Beatrice explains how we came to her life. “At the beginning, they helped us with 1000 kwacha (100 euros) so that each one of use could pay the school fees of our children and from there we built a background of mutual trust. KUBUKA continues to support us, they are responsible for buying fertilizer and seeds for the farm; thanks to them we also have an electric motor that pumps water to a tank so that we can irrigate our garden and, there is always a volunteer who comes to contribute his bit. The truth is that we are very grateful and always will be because without them, it would have been much more difficult to get this business off the ground.”
This is a perfect example of a collaboration which takes advantage of an initiative that has already been implemented by local people and is being reinforced for it to be able to move forward. We never forget that they are the ones who know their society best and the kind of businesses that can work. For this reason, we are there, we put hands, thinking minds, resources…, whatever it takes, but we let them take charge so that we can accomplish the goal of all the projects we work with…to be able to leave.