Five difficulties that widows face in Mozambique!

This photo is of Linda, who is our home help here (home help is a cultural norm when you live here as a foreigner; it’s a way of providing a job for someone). Linda is a widow. Her husband died suddenly 2 years ago. We are unsure exactly of the specific reason of death, which is quite common here. Linda is 43 and has 5 children who are 21, 18, twins who are 15, and an 8 year old boy. During a conversation, she told me of some challenges of being a widow.

  1. Many times when the husband dies, the man’s family demand that the wife gives them ‘back’ the house and all the family’s belongings – car, motorbike, white goods, etc.. Even though the wife may have helped to pay for and build the house, and the house is also where the children live, the family believe they have a right to all that the husband owned, no matter the impact on the wife and children. The wife could fight for her rights but many times it is not safe to do this and could cause more problems for her. She would probably go back and live with her parents.
  2.  Single mums, including widows, may have work but might receive only 2,800mts, which is very little in a household with just one income and probably atleast 3 children. The yearly school fee is 1,000mts, and then they have to pay for uniform, books, pens. So the mum doesn’t have enough money to send her children to school as well as put food not eh table so she chooses food. This means that the child ends up doing nothing productive all day. They may end up picking things up of the streets, stealing, doing drugs, or getting sexually involved at a young age. If the child doesn’t eat well, that also causes many illnesses.
  3. There is a lot of gossip surrounding widows. If a widow is well presented, has nice clothes, nice hair, or talks innocently to someone else’s husband, it is presumed by the husband’s wife or other people that she has ulterior motives and wants to steal the husband as she doesn’t have her own! However……….
  4. Many men approach widows, either single men or married men, wanting something out of them (normally sex, not commitment), so it is not necessarily ulterior motives on the woman’s part but on the man’s part.
  5. Widows have to provide non-stop in order to provide for their families. Food in the supermarkets in Mozambique is the same price as in England, some things are even more expensive, yet salaries are much lower. Some widows turn to prostitution in order to earn an income, though there are other ways of earning, like selling fruit and veg on the street.

Linda has experienced or she knows of people who face the challenges above. It is not an easy life, especially when your children depend on only you to provide for them and they have dreams that you want them to achieve. However, Linda is a Christian and she is so grateful to God that she has a job, she can pay school fees, and she manages to get by (Linda works 5 days a week, but still goes out in the evenings and weekends to sell products to provide for her family). Linda prays to God and he helps her through people who might give some money, or food, or advice. Linda asks God how to educate her children, without a dad around to give input, but she gives thanks to God that her children treat her well, they obey her, and choose to go to Church regularly.

Join with us in prayer to give thanks for Linda and her family and to pray for their well being, but also pray for those who don’t know Jesus and don’t have the faith, hope, peace, love, and assurance that comes from our Heavenly Father.