A while back we wrote about the heavy rains that had hit Rwanda in April and May this year. See Melissa's House. Around 200 people lost their lives across the country.
One family which was affected by the rains was that of Mama Melissa, some of whose children are being sponsored by Loanhead Church. The family, two adults and five children, live in a small mud-brick building. The roof is corrugated iron and it was this that was lifted off the walls in the storms. Without protection, the top of the end wall simply broke away.
The family are fortunate in that the local community provided the labour to make more bricks from mud and repair the wall. Fortunate is relative. They have their shelter back but this only puts them back where they were. Mama Melissa's husband works as a guard. For this he earns REF35,000, about £32, each month. This is barely enough to feed one person, let alone a family of seven.
Fortunately, Mama Melissa's house is owned by her brother and she pays no rent. We were told that if she did have to pay rent, this would be around RWF20,000 each month.
When we heard about the rains and the damage to the house, we were able to send funds for a supply of food to help the family get back on their feet. When we met Mama Melissa yesterday she was able to tell us how the food helped her to buy the other necessities of life like fuel for the stove in order to cook each day See . Needless to say, she was very grateful.
Life is precarious for these people and a considerable amount of energy each day goes into simply surviving. When disaster strikes there is nothing in reserve to make ends meet, and without a weatherproof shelter, life can very easily go from bad to worse.