Anastasia Bavuga is 60 years old, living in the dip area of Nyiragongo. Since 2006 she has been the only bread winner in her family as her husband is very ill, but due to the effects of climate change this has proved a very hard task.
Anastasia is one of over 500,000 people who have been forced to flee their homes to the bush in order to escape the dangers of chronic war. After running from Kirumba to Kibumba (a village near Goma town) in The North-Kivu region in 1994, Anastasia tried to support her family through agricultural farming, particularly growing cabbages. However, the excessive rain has prevented her, and she has not been able to find any available farm where she can grow cabbages and onions to sell to urban areas.
We have now been experiencing heavy rains since August this year.
Though desperate to keep her son in education, he had to drop out of Kalangala school, constructed by ActionAid DRC, as she could not afford the school fees of $18USD every 9 months because this year, cabbage cultivation has not provided them with any income.
It takes four months for these cabbages and onions to be reaped and now we can’t predict the weather conditions as we used to do in the late nineties. I don't know what to do... It is impossible to get food now, let alone afford school fees.
Anastasia Bavuga has desperately tried to find work cultivating other people's farms, but has been unsuccessful. She says that as long as she still has the strength she will continue to work wherever she can to try to afford to send her son back to school, but with out her own harvest it is impossible to save enough.
Anastasia Bavuga is not alone in this situation, but she is among the most vulnerable in the Nyiragongo territory. Most of the people living in this area are facing such difficulties, which has a knock on effect for urban areas. For instance, in Goma town, one cabbage was costing as much as 50FC, due to the harvest shortage. In 2010 the price of one cabbage leapt to 150FC and continues to increase in 2011.
Excessive looting and murder has been the main danger which inhabitants have faced due to non-stop war in the Eastern DR Congo for over 10 years now. But now, in addition, farmers in DR Congo wonder how they are going to survive as climate change causes increasingly erratic weather leaving with them little to no financial security and ever-increasing food shortages.