With that single sentence, Masika started talking. It was like I had plugged her into the mains.
‘It’s not just a good thing, it’s a life-changing miracle,’ she told me. ‘It’s God's answer to my prayers in a way I could never have imagined. It’s a story I will tell my children and to their children as long as I live…’
However, this wasn’t just a story about growing more food, or making more money…
‘A radio without batteries’
Masika was a housewife with four children. Her husband had been the sole breadwinner. It was a joyless marriage and he had shown her no respect, beating her and abusing her verbally.
‘My husband told me I was useless without him; just like a radio without batteries,’ she recalls.
He would never consult her for any decisions about their household. ‘He even told me that my parents wasted their money sending me to school,’ she said, although she was denied more than a basic education as a girl.
When Masika joined the self-help group, everything changed. With her loan she started selling tomatoes and then small doughnut-like cakes known as mandazi.
Suddenly she was making money and could contribute to household expenses. As that happened, her husband’s attitude changed. ‘Now my opinion counts in the house,’ she says. The abuse and the violence have stopped too.