Need story – Marie Ngalula

Children hold up their bowls, eager for porridge handed out during supplemental feeding at the Child Friendly Space that Marie Ngalula, 14, and her siblings attend. Marie lives with her father, Alexandre Tshimanga, her mother, Ntumba Kalombo Antoinette and her brothers and sisters: 1-Kena Tshimanga, 12 2-Kankonde Moise, 10 3-Munamba Angel, 8 4-Musungayi Andre, 6 5-Mubuyi Tshimanga, 4 Marie lives in a small village outside of Kananga, Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, called Tubuluku, which means antelopes (plural). Her house is a two-room hut with a thatched roof. Handful of wooden chairs are the only furniture. She lives here with an extended family of 13. Home Life Marie is a bright girl but there is a sadness in her eyes. Marie’s mother is in the nearby health clinic with a staph infection that has caused a huge abscess on her right side. It has become very serious. As a result, Marie has assumed many of the household duties. She’s forced, at 14, to assume the duties of an adult. Besides cooking for her brothers and sisters, she sweeps up the husks from palm nuts she crushes. She saves the husks to use as kindling for the fire. Marie and her siblings all sleep together in one room, huddled together for warmth and cover by an old and torn mosquito net. Hunger Marie’s family is desperately hungry in the days we visit them. Because her mother is sick and his father spends his days tending to her in the clinic, there is no money for food. Because there isn’t any cassava flour and cornmeal to make fufu, a bread-like dish that’s a Congolese staple, Marie and her siblings pick potato leaves from the garden. Marie sharpens a knife on a rock and uses it to chop the leaves into small pieces. She holds a bunch tightly in her left hand and runs the knife through them. Her cousin, also named Marie Ngalula, pulls some wood from a pile and arranges it between three rocks that will hold the pot. She yanks some thatch from the roof and uses it fo