Florence hasn’t been able to grow anything on her land for two years. And the situation is unlikely to improve anytime soon. Her family are being pushed further into poverty; it’s destroying her self-confidence and her hope for the future.
Florence lives in Zimbabwe, which is experiencing its worst drought in more than 40 years. The lack of rain means harvests are failing across the country. The drought has pushed food prices up. That, and the country’s political unrest, has been devastating for farmers like Florence.
‘The last time I went to till my land was in early 2018, because of this drought that has plagued our land,’ says Florence.
Her family were forced to rely on breeding and selling their chickens to provide an income, but many died of disease. Florence is now dependent on her 20-year-old son’s efforts to make an income: ‘My son makes money by selling sweets and doing casual jobs. When he earns something with the little he gets we will cook one meal, which we will eat for dinner and save some for breakfast,’ Florence explains. ‘Sometimes he doesn’t make any money, so we‘ll sleep hungry.’
Florence would like to work, but is scared to leave her young daughter alone. ‘One of my children is a girl who I can’t leave alone as it’s not safe,’ She explains. ‘Sometimes I cry when I think of my situation and what has happened to me.’
Florence’s life has never been easy. Orphaned as a young child, married by the age of 12, and then widowed twice before she turned 39, Florence has endured many setbacks and hardships. But this drought is the worst thing to ever happen to her.