The Belay family, Ethiopia
The mare is Belay’s last purchase two weeks back. He was able to do it with the help of his father who loaned him the 300 Bir [US$40]. “My father said to me – “Son, you buy yourself a female horse, the dung will serve as manure and soon you will have a small horse that you can sell and then another one will come. With the money you will receive from the young ones you can pay me back.”
Although his father added “Son, do not worry about the time this will take you,” Belay worries. “I just can’t live when I am in debt and this is a big one I have now with my father.” But one more animal means more dung and it is of utmost importance for survival…..
Between survival and famine
……..The land Belay is plowing this morning was not given to him. It belongs to one of the mountain farmers. With less then a hectare, it was not enough to feed his family, so the man went to find work as a labourer in the cities. Belay agreed to a shared deal. He works the farmer’s land in exchange for half the harvest.
Belay has made the same deal with his mother-in-law. He has to go nearly two hours to Debre Mtsimak village with his oxen to work this piece of land that could help make the difference between survival and sliding into famine.