Dakura Kyalepuo the subsistence farmer
It was inspiring to meet Dakura a year ago. He is a subsistence farmer, in his seventies, living in a very remote area south of Lawra. Last year he applied for a grant from ATE in order to buy sheep with a view to rearing them so that he could then sell them for money. This year when I returned to meet him again, I presented him with a framed photo of him that was taken last year. He was visibly delighted with the gift.
Dakura and his wife have had seven children, however unfortunately two have died. The family lives with very little money, surviving entirely off the land. His eldest son now lives and works in Lybia, and sends money home to help pay for the younger sibling’s education.
Dakura told us that with the grant from ATE he had bought a male and two female sheep. They had bred and produced two lambs, however unfortunately one of the female sheep had been killed, for no apparent reason, by a young local man. The body was found where it had been killed, and nearby the body of the young lamb who had been unable to survive without its mother. When Dakura found the young man and challenged him about what he had done, he told him that he should pay for the two sheep. The young man ran away and has left the area.
Dakura was obviously really concerned about the situation. He knows he entered into a Contract with ATE for the grant, and he said he feels responsible to the money he had been given. He is concerned about the implications for him, and for the ongoing safety of the other sheep. When we met the adult sheep were tied to the tree where we met in order to prevent them wandering away. He told us that he plans to sell the remaining adult female, and buy another one, because whenever she is allowed to roam she keeps trying to return to where she was born.
Survival in this environment is tremendously difficult for all that live here. However the determination of Dakura to improve his family’s prospects, and at the same time to honour his obligations, is far beyond what is often observed in the developed world.
ATE has an enormous challenge in responsibly handling the funds that are raised through generous donations, whilst trying to fairly address the needs of people such as Dakura who respond to adversity with such dignity.
Written by Stephen Hodgson on his return to Lawra in February 2017.