My children's home was destroyed by river Nyamwamba
Rehema pointing at what’s left of her home which got submerged underwater when River Nyamwamba flooded on 7th-05-2020 in Kasese District.
River Nyamwamba first began flooding in 2013 and continues to overflow every year in May and sometimes twice a year. It has since destroyed homes, taken lives and displaced the residents of Kasese, making them internally displaced people. 47 year old Rehema Namale Aryemua, a mother of 10 children, is one of the flood victims who lost her home and later relocated to live in Muhokya Internally displaced people’s transit camp in Kasese district.
In January 2020, Rehema bought land near river Nyamwamba after a friend convinced her that the land was affordable. Soon after buying, she started building her home for her children since she was a widow.
"My plan was to build a home for my children, especially my daughters, so that they wouldn’t have to suffer after I am gone" said Rehema.
She moved into her finished house with her children after completion in March 2020, where they started gardening and poultry farming. They were able to connect electricity and water to their home.
They had barely lived in their home for two months when they received news that river Nyamwamba had burst its banks and was flooding. The floods kept on ravaging the places near it until they reached Rehema's land. The family wasn’t heavily affected by the water since they could still live in their home despite it being there. Two days later, the water had increased in speed and amount and destroyed some of their crops.
After a week, Rehema's neighbors abandoned their homes in anticipation of more floods, but her family stayed since they had nowhere to go hoping that the floods would eventually stop. They rebuilt their home twice before they also decided to shift after the floods persisted and destroyed their property. They were taken to the internally displaced people’s camp by the local government officials and given some food items to fend for themselves.
Rehema and her children resettled in the camp and began to build another house using mud, sand, and wood. They also ventured into rearing rabbits, ducks, and chicken for sale to get income for her family. She currently rents land on which she plants crops like maize, groundnuts, and corn. These are crops that she later sells to raise money for her children’s school fees and welfare. One hectare of land is hired out at 150,000Ugx, (Approx. 39USD) and Rehema rents at least 3 hectares to produce more crops to get enough income.
Rehema is committed to working hard to ensure that her children go back to school or get involved in securing and learning hands-on skills. "My goal right now is to make sure my children get hands-on skills like knitting, tailoring or any skills that will enable them to survive even if they don’t get a formal education," said Rehema.