KUMBULA, KATANGA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
She sees for him.
Taking his hand gently in hers, they walk together, through the rows of neatly mud-made homes, across the grasses reaching toward the sky, over the rocky footpath. Their field is spread before them, tilled and growing, flourishing. She lets go of his hand and turns, making her way back to the village, her baby balanced on her back, asleep. He remains.
As the sun begins to slip and fall through the sky, she looks up. It’s time. She picks up the baby again and makes her way back out through Kumbula, the same grass now slanted from wind, the rocks wet from the afternoon rain. He is waiting there for her; tired from the day, he rests upon the red earth. She bends and takes his hand again, and together, they walk home.
Night falls and Kasali cares for her six children. The youngest is still asleep on her back and he is still waiting for her. She helps make the meal, helps him eat, helps him find his way to their thin mattress.
Kasali’s husband is blind and tilling the land is an enormous challenge for him. Since he can’t manage a large piece of land, he must make what he has grow, and grow well. There is no other choice. FH gave Kasali and her family enough seed to plant their field and taught them new farming techniques to increase the harvest. They haven’t eaten meat in three years, but they can eat maize and cassava twice a day, the fruits of their labor. This is more than some of their neighbors are able to gather.
“The war took everything. Our livestock is gone, now there is nothing, except our land,” Kasali says, her face set with a strength and determination that must fuel her hope. “I believe in God,” she says firmly, “it is Him who keeps us on this earth.”
The earth – it can provide or refuse, and so she will lead him back to it tomorrow, to work, to try, to fight for the lives of their children. Though he can’t see what he does or even know with his sight the faces of the children he fights for, he continues to feel with his hands and live with Kasali’s gentle touch leading the way.