Mama Seth the soldier


When we found Seth he was wandering the streets in Nyamirambo and begging for food. His mother had no home and the family had been split up. Some of themĀ  had been living with an aunt.

His mother, known to us according to local custom as mama Seth, is a diminutive woman with a stern look in her eye that suggests an argument with her wouldn't be a good choice. We learnt over Christmas that she is an ex-army officer. Her four words of English "Thank you very much" are delivered in a serious and deep-voiced, robotic monotone.

Mama Seth is probably typical of many soldiers that ended the 1990-94 war on the losing side. Although she speaks no English, she has French and can read, which is more than some of our project's mamas can do. Among the group we are trying to help she is clearly one of the more capable. Yet she has no job and is unlikely to find one. Her income is found through menial tasks she picks up as she can.

We are relying on mama Seth more than she realises. She has agreed to look after three of the project's children and in doing that will let us focus our efforts on getting her and the other women earning regular income and feeding their own children.