Judith is the mother of six children: Abram, Carol, Dinnes, Davis, Rosemary and Josephine. Josephine, the youngest, is somewhere around ten months old, but she is already helping her mother cut the vegetables- with a rusty eight-inch knife. Judith is a rarity- She owns the land, which was inherited from her grandmother, her home is on. The house is self-built, well manicured, extremely tidy and has a vibrant red base trim, which Judith herself painted using a mixture of soil and a special root. As she takes Megan and I around, she shows us the garden as well as the shower and drop-toilet her and the children share with surrounding families. She also shows us the most important feature of her home- the brewing system.
Judith brews her own beer, illegally, to make enough money for her family to survive. The contraption sits and steams as Megan investigates, through a translator, how exactly it all works. Judith gathers 10kg of sugar and lets it ferment with maize for seven days. Then, she puts it in an extremely hot drum. The same drum she is holding Josephine just inches from as I snap photos. The mixture drips into two large jugs at the end of the spout and is so violently concentrated, it is potentially fatal if it is not first diluted with water. Judith makes one batch of the brew per week and makes about 100,000 Kwacha per batch- the equivalent of about $20.00 in the United States. Judith's business success is based off of word-of-mouth. Since it is illegal, homes like Judith's are the only place men looking for a stronger beer can get it.
At one point, I interrupt Megan's interview to ask, "Are you happy?" Judith looks at our translator, lowers her eyes and just shakes her head. She doesn't want to brew beer. She hates it, in fact. But this is what she must do to keep her family alive and so she takes the risk.
Judith is a caretaker to orphans in the village and takes part in ENFYS, a group that is helping bring together the women of Murundu in order to help empower women and people of the village. Last year, she was part of a group that was given money through ENFYS to help provide fertilizer for their corn crop. Judith is an inspiration to the other women of ENFYS and the reason all of us at Life Restoration Partners, International continue to work so hard. We thank Judith for being so brave to share her story with us and for allowing everyone to be part of her life for a day.