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A home for a widow

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Jane Wafula and her family outside their old house

 

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The family outside their new Habitat house.

Jane Wafula is a Bukusu by tribe. The Bukusu from Western Kenya have a rich culture, which they have preserved up to the present time. Bukusu custom dictates that if a man dies, his house has to be demolished, and his wife and children are left homeless. Jane will have to go through the same customs every Bukusu woman faces following the death of her husband.

Widows in the community are often neglected and usually jobless. With the death of the breadwinner, life becomes almost unbearable—both financially and emotionally. Jane Wafula was no exception. Her former two-room house was mud-walled, had a rusty roof and an earthen floor. It was small and due for demolition within of six months to a year. She was worried that no one would offer to help her build another house.

That was not to be the case, however, as Jane qualified to be a Habitat homeowner. She was ecstatic and could not believe her luck when she got the news.

Her beautiful fired brick house is a sharp contrast from her soon-to-be-demolished mud-walled house. “God is great,” she said, “my life now has hope, even though I am a widow.”