Loveness January, First aid officer
“We are forced to obtain goods on the black market where the goods are overpriced.”
Loveness January is a 52-year-old widow who lives in Seke communal lands in Mashonaland East Province, roughly 50 kilometres from Harare. Her husband died in 2008 leaving her with two twins to raise who are in secondary school.
She works as a first aid assistant at a solar company where she earns ZWL400 ($25). Her salary is sent via mobile money to her phone, which means she has to pay a two percent tax on each transaction, further eroding her income.
“I want my children to further their studies, to eat good food, but the situation is so bad that we have resorted to having two instead of three meals a day,” she says. “We have stopped buying non-essentials like sugar.”
Loveness walks to work, which is roughly three kilometres from her home, to save a little more money.
Gardening and livestock rearing typically provide extra income for people in the communal lands, but this year has been particularly bad due to drought. Loveness’s well dried up, her maize crop failed, and she lost her three cattle to red water disease. She was forced to sell the remaining four goats to raise the exam fees for her two children.
Loveness doesn’t anticipate the economy will improve any time soon, and sees further hardship ahead. “The rainy season is upon us, but I can’t afford to buy seed or fertiliser,” she says.
Go back to the main page, or meet the other families:
Help make quality journalism about crises possible
The New Humanitarian is an independent, non-profit newsroom founded in 1995. We deliver quality, reliable journalism about crises and big issues impacting the world today. Our reporting on humanitarian aid has uncovered sex scandals, scams, data breaches, corruption, and much more.
Our readers trust us to hold power in the multi-billion-dollar aid sector accountable and to amplify the voices of those impacted by crises. We’re on the ground, reporting from the front lines, to bring you the inside story.
We keep our journalism free – no paywalls – thanks to the support of donors and readers like you who believe we need more independent journalism in the world. Your contribution means we can continue delivering award-winning journalism about crises.