Sita rests in the shade of her mango tree, relishing the cool air. She can enjoy these moments now. Her compound has been swept spotless, the children’s clothes dry on the washing line, the kaba toh (maize flour) is prepared for lunch.
Five years ago, she was suicidal. She and her husband Ankoma were deep in debt. The meagre pay they earned harvesting cashews didn’t cover the cost of the family’s trips to the health clinic. The bills stacked up.
The children were often sick. Diarrhoea can be fatal in remote rural areas of north-east Ivory Coast, so life was precarious. ‘We felt trapped,’ Sita says. ‘We wondered what was the point of living if you’re in debt to everyone?’