the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape.
Ada Atieno Ochieng is the real definition of resilience.
In spite of having lived a very difficult life, she still has a smile on her face and a hunger to live that is unmatched. At 28 years old, Ada is an orphan and a widow with 5 children to fend. Ada’s parents died when she was very young and she was left in the care of a relative who neglected her so much that the only remaining option to her was getting married at 15 years. This meant that she got her first born son at 15 years! Marriage somewhat gave her a sense of security, but it was short-lived since her husband passed on making her a widow at 25 years. He bequeathed her 5 children aged between 15 years to 1 year-old, a tiny single room house and a small parcel of land to till.
Dire living conditions
The house Ada and her 5 children lived in was one roomed with no windows and had only one door. It was too small even to accommodate one person let alone 6 people. How the family fit in and slept in that house is a wonder. The house had no privacy and the walls were so weak, made of mud. When it rained, the mud walls would be washed down by the rain water and the family feared that the walls would one day collapse on them. In addition to this, the family cooked outdoor in open space using firewood. They used a tin-lamp for lighting. Their sanitary condition was in a bad state, since they lacked a toilet and so defecation was done in the bush. The nearest river where Ada would fetch water was a 2 hours walk to and from.
Working to make it better for her children
Though life was difficult, Ada did not give up. She picked herself up and decided to do what she could to ensure her children have food and go to school. In her own words, “Though I don’t have parents or a husband, I have something… I have my children and want them to live a better life than me”. Ada teamed up with other women in the village and learned how to make ropes from sisal fibre and sold them at the market to earn a living. She also tilled other people’s farms to complement her earnings from rope business. For subsistence, Ada grew maize, beans and groundnuts in her small parcel of land.
According to her faith it was done unto her.
When Habitat for Humanity Kenya identified Ada as a potential beneficiary of a new house, she was ecstatic. Even though she knew that getting a house was depended on availability of finances by Habitat Kenya, Ada was hopeful and began helping out in the construction of houses for other beneficiaries by Habitat Kenya in her home area.
In a short period of time, a team of Volunteers from the USA decided to raise funds and travel to Kenya to construct a house for Ada and her family. Habitat for Humanity Kenya facilitated the whole process and linked the team to Ada and her community. It was both a joyful and emotional process for Ada and her family, community members, the volunteer team and Habitat Kenya as they all worked jointly to provide decent shelter for this deserving family.
Thank you Habitat for Humanity!
Ada is very grateful to get a stable and spacious house. “Habitat for Humanity has lifted a huge burden off me. All I now want is to move into and enjoy my own new house. My children and I will eat the food that’s available and sleep in peace, and I promise to work hard to turn this house into a home for them,” says Ada.
The new house is 2 bed-roomed, with a sitting room, a kitchen, and a bathroom. It also has an outside pit latrine and a 2000 litre water tank.
Why we do it
Habitat for Humanity Kenya helps homeowners to achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build a better life for themselves and their families. This is anchored in our motto of building hope and homes.
After a life of suffering and misfortunes, light seems to have shown on Ada’s life. Her renewed zest for life is proof of it. Habitat for Humanity Kenya wishes her all the best in this new phase of her life!