'Whenever I looked in the mirror I saw a person who was cursed'

Eunice endured a difficult childhood with an abusive and alcoholic polygamous father; while her mother occupied the lowly position of ‘second wife’.

Tensions ran high between the families and the situation deteriorated when Eunice’s mother gave birth to a disabled child. Eunice’s father and stepmother saw this as curse and started blaming Eunice’s side of the family for anything that went wrong.

‘Whenever our father was drunk he would beat us up, saying we were bringing misfortune to his family,’ explains Eunice. ‘He blamed himself for marrying our mother - as a child this was a very hurtful thing to hear.’

Financial worries

Although Eunice’s stepsiblings attended school, Eunice and her siblings were not allowed to go as their father claimed nothing good would come from them.

‘To make things worse, my mother had to sell part of her share of the family land to help pay my elder brother’s dowry,’ explains Eunice.

‘Two years into the marriage my brother and his wife failed to have a child and divorced. This was confirmation to my step-family that we were cursed and the mistreatment escalated.’

Declaring that they had to pay the costs of her brother’s failed marriage, Eunice’s father decided the only way to do this was to marry off Eunice (and receive a dowry in return). This worried Eunice greatly.

‘After he’d been drinking, my father would come home with men – some of whom were his age – wanting to marry me,’ she recalls. ‘Most of the time I would run into the bush and hide for days just to avoid these arranged marriages.’

Building self-esteem

When Eunice joined Amigos’ Kira Farm Development Centre her confidence was at rock bottom.

‘I’d begun to believe that my family really were cursed and I hated everything about myself,’ she admits. ‘Whenever I looked in the mirror all I could see was a cursed person.’

Fortunately the mentoring and teaching Eunice received on Kira had an impact and, over time, her self-image was transformed.

‘Being at Kira Farm restored my self-esteem,’ she smiles. ‘Since then I’ve been able to share a message of hope with my family and tell them that God loves us, and we are not cursed,’ she says.

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Changing mindsets

‘I love my life now!’ beams Eunice. ‘When I look in the mirror now I see hope, not fear!’ Thanks to Eunice’s input her family are no longer regarded as cursed and their status is beginning to change significantly.

‘We used to have poor crops, that were supposedly ‘cursed’, but really it was poor farming methods,’ she says. ‘Since I got home and started using the conservation farming methods I learnt at Kira, our crops have looked better than the rest of the family’s.’

When the stepfamily saw the size of Eunice’s recent harvest they were very interested in finding out more!

‘I have so much confidence today, and I’m very active in my church – all this is scaring off the men my father wanted me to marry. Now they see me as way above their standards!’ she smiles.

Making amends

Today Eunice is running a successful tailoring business, thanks to the training she received at Kira, and her father is very proud of her.

The young woman is saving at least £65 a month and is paying for two of her siblings to go to school.

With the restorative approach training she received at Kira, Eunice is working hard to mend the relationship between the families.

‘I believe slowly by slowly I will get the two families reunited,’ she says. ‘I have managed to get them together once a week for family meetings, which I am leading.’

'I'm so grateful to my sponsors for making it possible for me to attend Kira Farm. It's changed my life.'