Our 6th Goat event in Kitui brought Joyce Kimanzi as one of our beneficiaries. As we interacted with the beneficiaries, I noticed one woman who sat in solitude. She was struggling to balance tears as she smiled while holding her pair of goats. Joyce’s story is a representation of the unspoken realities widows across Africa face.
“When my husband died in 2019, a dark cloud hovered around me for days. I felt like my whole world had crumbled. He died in our matrimonial bed and that was the last time I set my eyes on him. I never had the opportunity to bury him because his family came the morning after his death and sent me and my children packing.”
Still visibly heartbroken by the chain of events 4 years ago, Joyce takes us through her journey of re-building and finding meaning in life again.
“ My in-laws took everything away. We had acquired 2 pieces of land in Mombasa and Kitui. Everything was taken including the house we lived in. My children were asked to leave with me too, without a clue of where we should go. I was a housewife for the 10 years that we were married, my husband paid for our children’s school fees and ensured we never lacked. Still, we lived as farmers and made the most of what we had.
When you say you are a housewife, people never really understand the value you contribute to any household. Automatically, everyone thinks your work is waking up, cooking for your family then going back to sleep. I contributed to my husband’s growth by helping him on the farm. We would wake up early and dig huge tracts of land to have enough for harvest. But no one recognizes this, my inlaws accused me of killing my husband to retain his wealth. And you wonder, how is it possible that you are accused of ending the life of someone you loved deeply?
After leaving, I moved back to my parent’s house. Imagine the shame of going back to your parent’s house at 44 years? I became a laughing stock. I cried myself to sleep for almost 6 months. I grieved for my husband and former life every day. Life was meaningless. I remember entertaining suicidal thoughts and wishing that I died. But every time I looked at my lastborn child, I was reassured that things would get easier eventually.
My father gave me the capital to start a small business. I started selling tomatoes and onions by the roadside. Slowly by slowly I started finding the meaning in life again. Then a joined a widows group and realized that my story is better than other widowed women who still haven’t come to terms with everything.
When The Goat Foundation identified me as a beneficiary, I was elated. I am building from scratch but I have the means to this time. It has been a journey and this gift is an indication that better is coming. I have been taught about cause capitalism, the first kid I get from my goats will go to a widow like me who is trying to rebuild.
Thank you Steve Down and The Goat Foundation. ”