Evelina Kanyua grew up as the first born in a household of five girls and three boys. She helped her mother raise her seven siblings and do chores. These included walking eight kilometers each way to get water twice per day and working in others’ shambas (gardens) and farms for money. They also had their own shamba at home from which they would sell the crops once in a while to buy clothes. They were able to afford two outfits a year. As a child, Evelina enjoyed farming and going to school. Unfortunately, she had to drop out of school after seventh grade, because her family did not have money for her tuition.
Today, Evelina lives in a mudhouse compound and has her own farm where she grows green grams, millet, and raises chickens. She sells everything they produce for tuition for her children. She has two boys and two girls. Her older son finished high school, and the younger is in his third year at a private university. She could not pay for her eldest son to go to college or university, as the rainy season was unproductive and she did not have crops to sell. He is currently helping her at home. Her girls are in high school and seventh grade. Sadly, her husband passed away in 2005, so she is a single mother.
A day in Evelina’s life consists of waking up at 6:00am to go get water. When she comes back, she makes tea and breakfast and puts lunch on the fire. She then goes to the farm to work until about 1:00pm when she eats lunch. After lunch, she goes back to the farm and returns around 5:00 when she puts dinner on the fire and fetches more water. Her family, then, eats dinner. Around 7:00pm, Evelina has some time to spend working on making baskets or viondos, because she has a solar lamp. This is also beneficial for her children, because they have extra time to study at night.
The profits from the viondo Evelina sells goes towards her children’s tuition first and foremost, and then food. Selling her viondo gives that her trouble will be over soon if she makes enough for her children’s education.
Today, Evelina is happy to have her children and happy that, through making viondo, she is able to send her son to college. However, she still dreams for more. Her biggest and most important dream is to see her children through their education and gain secure jobs. Her second dream is to have a business that will allow her to bring in a good income, so that she may build a good home and purchase clothes.