Elisabeth, 28, lives in the village of Tupendane in central Kenya. Last year, the youngest of her five children suffered from malnutrition – thankfully, the little girl was diagnosed by our community volunteers and she received the treatment she needed to regain her health.
As her daughter recovered, Elisabeth learned how to use a tool as simple and lifesaving as a thermometer: the middle-upper arm circumference (MUAC) band. The color-coded measuring tape allows anyone to detect acute malnutrition and now, she can not only screen her own children, but help other families, too.
Today, Elisabeth is a lead volunteer in her community. "I like to help as others have helped me,” she says. “I cannot read or write, but I have acquired some knowledge and I feel a duty to pass it on. When I explain something important to a woman who does not know it, I feel that I am doing something important for her life."
A day in Elisabeth’s life
Elisabeth wakes up at the crow of the rooster. Her husband is already awake and dressed. He gives her a kiss on the cheek and leaves the house for work.
She helps her children get ready for school.
Elisabeth is back at home with two of her daughters: the one-year-old girl is too young for school and the three-year-old is home sick today. She prepares breakfast for the three of them: Milk tea with puff–puff, a deep-fried dough.
All three of them sit on the ground and eat together.
While her daughters play around her, Elisabeth washes the dishes. Some relatives stop by for a visit.
Elisabeth takes the donkeys out of the house and walks them to the woods so they can eat some grass. The donkeys are the most precious animals she has: they carry the firewood that she cuts in the forest and sells to her neighbors.
Back in the village, Elisabeth cut the firewood she gathered in small pieces. One woman comes and buy wood, then another quickly follows. It’s a good day: Elisabeth sells everything in just four hours. Other days, she cannot sell even half of it.
Elisabeth walks to the market to buy some food.
Everyone is back home. While the children play, Elisabeth prepares dinner: Ugali, a dense paste made by cooking cornmeal in boiling water and vegetables.
The family eats together, sitting on the ground and sharing the meal from one plate.
Elisabeth cleans the kitchen and when the sun goes down, everyone goes to sleep.