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Utrina: working the land

11/01/2007 | Panos London

Utrina sells her own vegetables and trades in charcoal and cloth when she can. Her family can afford to buy fertiliser, and she has a bicycle to take produce to market. She’s also an active member of savings and craft clubs. Although she is better off than some, life is a struggle. Food production has…

Sara: coping without family

11/01/2007 | Panos London

Sara is over 80 years old and has no family: she was an orphan from birth, has been widowed twice and lost both her children. She has almost no belongings and no resources of her own. Although she has no relatives to look after her, people in her village help her in various ways –…

Ruth: a mother’s struggle

11/01/2007 | Panos London

Ruth first became pregnant when she applied to nursing college. She postponed her further education and gave up on it completely when, just six months after giving birth, she discovered she was pregnant again. Her partner later left her because he wanted a wife with a job, taking their children with him. In a cruel…

Mirriam: dedicated to others

11/01/2007 | Panos London

Mirriam is in her late 60s – she has been widowed twice and now looks after five grandchildren who have been rejected by their parents. Struggling with degraded land, poor rainfall, loss of livestock and lacking the energy of her youth, she and the children survive mostly on “wild vegetables and roots”. Mirriam is also…

Grace: an open approach

11/01/2007 | Panos London

Grace is HIV positive. She looks after her mother, who is completely disabled and is separated from her father – a traditional healer who earned very little money. Her stepfather has been good to Grace’s mother and her children. Life has improved as Grace and her brothers have managed to get help with cultivation, buy…

Gilbert: cattle is wealth

11/01/2007 | Panos London

Gilbert works as a security guard. He says that things have got steadily worse since the end of President Kaunda’s government (which followed Independence in 1964). He complains that the government provides no assistance apart from paying teachers’ salaries. Gilbert stresses the importance of education and is unhappy that one of his daughters has dropped…

Edward: anxiety of poverty

11/01/2007 | Panos London

Born in 1938, Edward didn’t go to school until he was 12, and then only for two years. There was little money for education; his father had died and his mother was very sick, having to borrow money for medication. On leaving school, Edward became a farmer. He was impressed by President Kaunda’s government (after…

Dominic: valuing tradition

11/01/2007 | Panos London

Dominic describes a harsh childhood. His mother became lame in 1964 and his father left when the children were very young. “Most of the time we went without food,” he says. Dominic had to leave school early and married young in order to help his mother “since she wasn’t that able to cope on her…

Benson: people need jobs

11/01/2007 | Panos London

Benson was a soldier for 32 years and now plays an active role in his community. By saving some money while he was in the army, he managed to buy a few cattle. But now, like everyone else, he is”struggling to make ends meet”. Benson blames the “serious food shortage” arising from bad drought for…

Anna: strong and hardworking

11/01/2007 | Panos London

Anna became pregnant when still at school. Her family was tough with her, saying she must pay the price of her “negligent body”. She says that she is grateful as she learned to be strong and hardworking. She later married but her husband is ill and they can’t afford the drugs he needs. Anna believes…

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