Meet Ancille…today we set up our equipment in her home compound. Camera. Tripod. Microphone. And she giggles. She asks me, “What do you think I have to say?” We both laugh. Ancille is 71. She has seen much in her life. Birth of seven children and death of one. The shift from traditional culture. The impact of globalisation. The arrival of independence, the political upheavals, and devastation of the 1994 genocide. Change has been synonymous with her seventy plus years.
Twelve months ago, Ancille was sick with serious health problems and without access to medical treatment. She did not have sufficient food and though she knew her neighbours, they were not close friends. She worried about her health and the future. Then she joined a Self Help Group hoping to provide for her own basic needs. And she has. She has learned to make mats from local grasses and reeds. She buys the materials for just under AUD$1 and sells them for AUD$3 after 10 days labour. But it is enough to cover her living costs and pay a day labourer to work her small field producing beans and potatoes for her basic diet.
She pays for her own private health insurance. So now can regularly make her way to the local clinic for medications and treatment. Every day she feels stronger.
And she looks about to find she has friends. They send their children to help with the day to day tasks. The community accepts her. She smiles as she walks through her village. Many calling out her name. Waving enthusiastically.
But best of all she tells me, “Things have changed in my heart. I have so much joy. I feel so joyful. Not so many problems to worry about. I don’t worry about my future. The group has unloaded my burden.”
Rest easy, my friend.