"After a day, our whole house collapsed, while we were outside. We lost everything, and we couldn’t live there.” 

 

Cyclone Idai affected the lives of many women including Loyce, 31, who has several children. She was pregnant with her son Moffat when the storm struck. “We heard the rains coming,” she told us, “and some of them came inside the house. After a day, our whole house collapsed, while we were outside. We lost everything, and we couldn’t live there.” 

Living temporarily with her mother, Loyce gave birth to Moffat as the summer ended. Soon he was sick, so Loyce took him to the health clinic, which diagnosed an infection and prescribed an antibiotic, which was given for free. Moffat also had conjunctivitis but, as Loyce recounts: “They didn’t have medicine for that and told me I had to go and buy a cream to smear on his eyes. I managed to buy it for him, and within three days he was OK.”

For Loyce, getting sufficient money to buy necessary medicines involves working on other people’s farms. “I try to make extra money that I can use for medicines,” she explains. “But this is hard as it means I have to leave work on our own farm, and we rely on the maize we grow. Neglecting it is a problem, but we don’t have another option.”

Loyce’s husband rebuilt their house and the family was able to return in November, but lack of finance meant it had to be built much smaller. “The children have not been able to rejoin us as it is too small, so they have to sleep in another place.  We all have some psychological trauma,” she adds.

 

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