Elizabeth, captured, widowed, released, subsistence farmer, hounded by her husbands family – was an inspiring person to meet, acting as a mentor to many young women in the village. We arrived at her home (2 huts and a granary), where Katie had a series of questions for her. With her son-in-law as the interpreter, a cultural habit meant that she was not to look at the son-in-law as he spoke (something to do with she shouldn’t interfere), which made for interesting dialogue.
Elizabeth was one of many in the village who were captured, her husband was killed in the refugee camps (which actually weren’t far from the village), and they returned to the village around 5 years ago. In dispute with her husbands family as to whether she is ‘entitled’ to the land, she continues to farm it – mostly cassava, soya, sweetcorn and millet – with bananas and something looking like a large papaya hanging in the trees nearby. The in-laws tend to come past and take a share of the crops, leaving her with little to eat/sell. She used to just grow enough to try and live on for the lean times, but with the PEP process, she has been encouraged to take responsibility for her own future/part in the community. More food is grown than is needed in order to sell to others, that that she keeps is put into a grain store – lifted from the ground and the rats. Along with other villagers a draining board has been set up – this enables more hygienic use of dishes, etc. and has had a drastic effect on illnesses – I think particularly on diarrhoea which can be a major problem.
We were invited to visit her house – strong structure, with a roof that doesn’t leak in the rain (paid for with some of her extra food stores). Half the house is a bed and clothes drying – the other appears to hold some of her extra food stores. Really encouraging to meet her, especially as she does all this with leprosy, and acts as a mentor to many of the village girls.
From Tuesday 26th February 2013. See more on Elizabeth on Tearfund.
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014; second edition in process) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.