Habamutaki and Albert

Life After Devastation

How do you move forward when the worst has happened?

At some point in our lives, we’ll all experience something not going to plan. For some of us, these disruptions may be especially devastating. And unfortunately, in certain parts of the world, these are unfortunately more commonplace.

In many parts of exploited countries, life is extremely uncertain. Health challenges can get out of hand quickly. Things like maternal mortality and waterborne illnesses are unfortunately common. These things can quickly add disruption to somebody’s life.

In places like the Democratic Republic of Congo, life’s uncertainties can quickly take a toll on a family. Incidents like malaria, malnutrition, and conflict have taken many lives too early.

These were familiar events to our friend Habamutaki. Habamutaki was born and raised in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At age fourteen, she married her husband Albert. She and Albert have been married for 20 years, during which they’ve had seven children.

Throughout their marriage, they’ve see many difficult times. Sometimes, crop disease would come and destroy their harvest. Her family seemed to be constantly hungry. One year, though, was harder than all the others. Tragedy struck and malaria claimed the lives of her two sons.

Crop disease would come and destroy their harvest
Crop disease would come and destroy their harvest

We’re not meant to do it alone

The death of her children raised a lot of questions. Could this have been prevented? How do you explain the concept of justice in the face of such a deep loss? Why do some people have it especially hard? Living in such a remote area made access to proper treatment nearly impossible. Habamutaki explains, “The hospital is very far away, and patients must be carried all the way on a stretcher.”

How does one persist after such a personal tragedy? Especially when the simple act of survival was already a struggle? Especially when the circumstances seemed so unfair? For Habamutaki and Albert, community played a big role in their ability to move forward.

When Habamutaki first joined her Plant With Purpose Empowerment Group, she didn’t know anything about the process and benefits of saving money, and how that applied to her daily life doing farm work. Her neighbors and friends in the group came alongside her as she developed her skills. Eventually, she gained the confidence to begin taking loans out, using them to pay for clothing, school fees, and more bananas to sell.

Using what she learned in Plant With Purpose workshops, Habamutaki implemented sustainable farming techniques to help grow her crops. Later, when Albert joined his own Empowerment Group, he took a loan to buy maize up in the mountain and sell at the local market.

This program started Habamutaki and Albert on the path towards a better life, one vastly different from the one they knew before. They started seeing their harvests grow larger, their income grow more steady, and new opportunities open up for their family.

For Habamutaki and Albert, community played a big role in their ability to move forward
For Habamutaki and Albert, community played a big role in their ability to move forward

A new life is possible

None of this takes away from the tragedy of their loss. It does, however, give them a way to move forward and a hope for a future where their family can celebrate together.

“The empowerment group changed my life,” Habamutaki expresses. Before, her family was only able to eat one meal a day, and now they are consistently eating twice daily.

She is also seeing her spiritual life thrive in ways she didn’t expect. In her church congregation, she sees people mobilizing more to better their community. Her church is teaching about the power of peace and reconciliation within their families and village. She reflects, “Plant With Purpose changes lives and empowers people to work and produce more.”

Habamutaki is beginning to realize how hard work and investing in the future can help her follow God’s path. Many in the community used to just wait for a miracle from God to make their lives better, but now the people in the village are living out their faith as active makers of change.

Habamutaki still has high hopes for her community— that her children will get their education and that a hospital will be built closer to her village. We pray alongside Habamutaki that God continues to work through her, Albert, and their community. 

Plant With Purpose exists to help you support farmers like Habamutaki be the solution to our planet’s ecological problems. Through focusing on the spiritual roots of environmental challenges, we see transformation take place at every level. Want to partner up? Sign up to become a Purpose Partner here!

Shriya Asher

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