Old age becomes a problem when one is staying alone and has nothing to rely upon. Most old people die not because it was their time, but sometimes because of the pressure of lack of resources to help them boost their lives. Others died due to hunger. However, whenever an old person has someone to take care of them, it becomes simple because they live their lives to the fullest.
In the village of Bwanamakowa, Traditional Authority Mzukuzuku, in Mzimba, there is a 98-years-old man by the name Eliakim Nkhata who is taken care of by his eldest son, Steven, 67 years of age. Though Eliakim stays with his son, the son could not manage to provide all the necessary care as expected. Life was too hard until the Pathways for Successful Transition (PAST) project, an initiative being implemented by Save the Children in partnership with Creative Centre for Community Mobilization (CRECCOM) came in with new ideas. The project helped Eliakim through Steven who represents him as a witness.
Steven invested the seed capital money, K110,000, that was received from the project in agribusiness. He bought a bag of fertilizer, bean seeds, vegetable seeds, onion seeds, and tomato seeds and planted at his 1-acre dimba. In his agricultural activities, he follows smart agriculture, some of the lessons he received from the project through the project’s mentors, Madalo Jere and Nyembezi. He is applying manual to his vegetables to boost the harvests. Since he started his agricultural activities, he has been selling some of the produces and get the money that is used to care for his family as well as his old father. At the time of his interview, he had already planted another chain of 8000 tomato stalks.
“I was nobody my friend, imagine keeping an old folk, it wasn’t easy, life was tough. Unfortunately, during that time before you (PAST project) came, I had nothing as capital, of course, I was doing this irrigation agriculture, but you know what it means to do this without proper capital, it was harder. However, now things have changed,” says Steven while cutting some sugarcane for the interviewers to eat.
Currently, Gogo Nkhata is living a happy life because, through his son, he can eat three times a day and bathe using soap. Apart from that, Steven is also being helped because he can feed his 5 children and the 4 nephews. He is also paying for the children’s school development funds as well as school fees. From his maize field, he is expecting to harvest 4 tonnes. He also joined Katuwatuwa village savings and loans group where he has managed to save up to K40,000 in shares. His vision is to boost his agricultural activities through buying cows for the provision of manuals. The same cows shall be used to plough his maize fields as well as dimba.