Constance Mambo

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  •  17 September 2013
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Meet Constance Mambo, she’s 7 years old. Constance lives in Shangombo province, in South West Zambia. Her family used to be very poor but now she's so much better off thanks to help from SCIAF supporters.

Family life

In the photo of Constance’s family are her grandmother (Rita), her brother (Hastings) and her cousin (Hangandu). Her family is very different to families we're used to in Scotland. Three of Rita's children have died - leaving her with 12 orphans to look after including Constance and her brother. Rita is an amazing woman and can provide for all her grandchildren thanks to farming training provided by SCIAF. The family used to be constantly hungry but now have plenty to eat.

The village

Constance lives in Chikwela village. The village is very remote. It’s 4 miles to the nearest road and a 3 day ride along a bumpy road to get to the nearest city. Chikwela village is a lovely community. The village is swept every day to keep it free from weeds and plants. This helps keep snakes and mosquitos away. The huts are well built with concrete floors. The quality of their huts shows what a difference support can make to some of the world’s poorest communities.

Preparing maize

Constance must pick the maize (corn) off the cob. This is a hard job but she doesn't complain. She's thankful that there's plenty of food for her and the family. The pictures of Constance were taken in 2003, when there was a terrible famine in Zambia. Constance didn't need any seeds or emergency food because her grandmother, Rita, had been trained with SCIAF's help. Rita attended the Kasisi Agricultural Training College in Zambia where she learned organic farming techniques. This has allowed her to grow 5 times the amount of food that she did before! This meant her family had plenty of food even though there was very little rain for the crops.

Working in the field

Constance helps out with the weeding on the farm. Just because her family have plenty of food doesn't mean to say that life is easy. There’s always plenty of hard work to do and everyone is expected to play their part. Constance helps in the fields every day after she returns from school - which is a 5 mile walk there and back! Farmers from all over Zambia come to Constance's farm so they can learn to be better farmers. Rita and Constance are grateful for the training they've received and love to pass on all they’ve learned.

Pounding grain

When the maize has been picked, it must be pounded into flour. The flour, called nshima (pronounced in-sheema), is the staple food for millions of people in Africa. Its takes a lot of back-breaking work to grow the food but preparing it also takes lots of time. This is one of the jobs done by the girls and women. It’is rare to see men or boys carry out these tasks. Often the women pound the grain together. They sing while they pound to help them keep the rhythm - one wrong move and there'll be a few sore fingers and arms.

Feeding chickens

Before having breakfast, Constance feeds the chickens. Chickens are a great source of income - her family earn a lot of money from selling the eggs and breeding chickens. The eggs and chickens are also a valuable source of nutrition - many poor people are malnourished and don't often get a chance to eat meat.

Making breakfast

Constance makes nshima porridge for breakfast. Thanks to SCIAF supporters, Constance and her family are much better off and have been able to grow more than enough food to feed themselves - despite the terrible drought. Thanks to the training Rita has received, they were able to sell over 150 sacks of maize and 70 bags of groundnuts (peanuts) in one year.

Their story shows how important SCIAF's work is. We don't just support people during an emergency. We work with families year after year to make sure their lives improve and to protect them from hunger - for good.

Photos – Sean Sprague

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