"Each time the Habitat team meets Nasabu, they are welcomed with her warm smile," Charles, the project officer, told the Habitat team that had come to pay a visit. "On the day we conducted the family assessment for vulnerable families in dire need of shelter, I was struck by the warm smile despite the sorry state we found her and family!! I concluded that Nasabu’s smile is one of triumph, one of a conqueror that no situation would affect," Charles remembered.
The 65 year old is a resident of Bukoba Village, Mayuge district who lost her husband in 2004. She is currently taking care of four grandchildren, three of whom are in school. The fourth grandchild is Sumini, the seven year olddaughter of Nasabu's late son. Sumini suffers from hydrocephalus since birth - a condition in which there is an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid within the brain. This typically causes increased pressure inside the skull. Older people may have headaches, double vision, poor balance, urinary incontinence, personality changes, or impairment. In babies there may be a rapid increase in head size. Other symptoms may include vomiting, sleepiness, seizures, and downward pointing of the eyes.
While Nasabu has a garden in which she grows ground nuts, beans, potatoes, cassava and maize, the money from the sale of her produce barely covers expenses like school fees and other household expenses. She would never save enough to build a permanent house or even get treatment for her grandchild.
Nasabu’s former house was an old hut that was far too small for all of them. It had a leaking roof and no windows. The door was the only space for aeration. The walls were made of mud & wattle and were very weak. The floor was a dust floor that posed a threat to their health and provided a home for rats and jiggers. The house was likely to collapse any time!! "When it would rain, we would all stand in one corner. Even when it stopped raining, we could not sleep. The floor would be wet for our beddings! At one time we called in a builder to help roof the house but I could not afford it. The budget to buy iron sheets and pay the builder was too high. We had no choice but to always get more grass to stop the leaking roof but that was short lived especially in the rainy seasons," Nasabu narrated.
With the Assistance of Habitat for Humanity Uganda, Nasabu is celebrating a new life. She is no longer worried about the poor housing and living conditions. She is excited to have place to call home. "At my old age, there was no hope of owning such a house. The water tank you gave me, not only saved the daily long distances of fetching water from the lake, but I am able to harvest water that takes me a few days and in the rainy seasons I forget going to the lake," she excitedly explained.
"We had no sanitation facilities, we had to improvise with other means like the bush but thanks to you, our hygiene and sanitation has greatly improved. Our health too, the dust floor would accommodate rats, jiggers but that is now an old story. I don’t know how I can ever repay you for improving the housing and living condition of people like us. I could never ever have afforded such a good house maybe dream of it. BUT Habitat has made it possible."
Nasabu continued, "I could not even welcome visitors in the old house, where would they sit? We would just sit out and pray that the weather does not change but now rain or sunshine they are welcome. My life and my children’s has greatly improved because of the house you provided and the trainings you gave us. My sales are improving because of the financial literacy training you provided. Thank you Habitat, thank you for everything."