I’m a mother of nine children. Two have passed on, one is married, and six of my children live with me. My husband and I have seen better days — we once had farmlands, livestock and a house. We lost all of it in a fire. Ever since, my husband lost his will to strive for a better life.
I am not one to sit and wallow in my misery. I have worked hard to raise my kids. I have sold diesel, baked injera (a traditional Ethiopian pancake), washed clothes and sold vegetables at the market. The currency was strong then. Now it is nothing. Long gone are the days when I would feed my family with only 200 birr (US $3.80).
My kids used to work after school. The older ones sold plastic bags, and my 22-year-old son, whom I lost during the recent conflict, used to drive a Bajaj (a public transportation motorbike) to cover some household expenses. However, the past few years have been difficult. Food prices have soared. We are barely surviving.
On top of everything else, the conflict was a huge blow for people like us who depend on a daily income.
It is through Nur, my 14-year-old son who is in the Compassion Sponsorship Program, that the family is surviving.
My husband, who works as a guard, has a monthly income of 2,000 birr (US $38). We pay 1,500 birr (US $28) for rent. With six children, the remainder doesn’t last a week. I try to fill in the gaps by working any job that can generate an income.
But that is only possible in a stable environment.
It’s still hard for me to recount how we survived the conflict. Since there was no electricity, I used a stone mill to grind the little wheat I saved and bake pita bread for my children. It was never enough.
After the seizure was over and we resumed our life, we realized the extent of our troubles.