Mama Ezekiel and The Pombe Business

Mama Ezekiel and The Pombe Business

July 14, 2020

We have been back in Tanzania and Anna asked if I would go with her to check on a mom who needed help. Our MAP program helps mothers in need with housing, food, support and small business opportunities. After a year and a half, we have 72 moms in our MAP program. God is Good Indeed!

This mom had a business of making Pombe (a local corn brew which could sterilize your nostrils from half a mile away!) and which was not a good business for her. She has four children and the men coming to buy the beer were causing much trouble. The local Commissioner called Neema Village to see if we could help her.

We took off down the dirt road but soon had to leave the car and walk in. The path led us through a winding trail of mud and stick houses with squawking chickens and crying children afraid of the strange Mzungu (me) walking by. We called, “Hodi” as we came to Mama Ezekiel’s door.

Mama Ezekiel, Paulena, has four children. The youngest was damaged at birth and the husband, ashamed that he would have a child like that, abandoned the family. Paulena began making and selling beer in order to feed her four children. Inside the house we found she had only one bed and she, Ezekiel and one of the girls slept in the bed. The other two children slept with friends or neighbors.

Ezekiel is seven and a big boy now. It always touches me how these moms with handicap babies are so proud of every little thing their children can do. Paulena was proud that Ezekiel could bless Anna by putting his hand on her head, a common custom here. Anna is always so gracious to these moms and their babies.

It is hard to keep from crying as we hear these women tell their stories of abuse and abandonment. Paulena would make a pail of brew but the men who came to buy would often run away before paying. Drunken men would hang around her house and she knew this was not safe for her children.

Ezekiel is a sweet child who tried to smile at us even though he was afraid. After talking with Paulena we decided to move her to a safer neighborhood and start her in a vegetable business. Her new house, below with the yellow door, is concrete and close to a major road where she can do a good business.

After the visit Paulena and Ezekiel came out to walk us back to the car. I don’t know about you but when I see this mom holding this big boy I wonder just how much longer she can carry him around! We may need to get her a stroller.

These African women are the strongest women I know. She tied this big boy on her back and off we went!

A vegetable stand is always a good business here since local Tanzanians do not go to the big super markets. With six months rent at $102, the vegetable stand with vegetables at $250, and monthly support at $30 per month for six months while she gets her business going, Mama Ezekiels’s business will cost about $532. USD.

As we drive off from these visits Anna always sings her song.

“The time to be happy is now

The place to be happy is here

And the way to be happy

Is to make someone happy

And we have a little heaven down here.”

May you be blessed with Health and Happiness and a little Heaven down here,

Michael and Dorris Fortson, Directors and Founders of Neema Village Tanzania Inc.

Anna's song MG 6409