Thirteen elderly persons stroll over a big plantation in Nyakiriba sector, Rubavu district. Some of them are diligently removing the weeds that proliferate between the cabbages, while others are sprenkling the crops with water. Together, these persons run Twungubumwe (“Let’s unite”), a crop cultivation cooperative. They used to be with fourteen persons, but unfortuntaly one of them recently passed away.
Twungubumwe was founded by fourteen widows who had all passed through sociotherapy in 2014. Afterwards, in July of that same year, they started a joint crop cultivation as the soil in their area is very fertile. It differs per season which crop the group cultivates. At times, one will find them in a field full of cabbage or tomatoes, and at other times one will see them harvesting potatoes and carrots. There are also periods during which the plantation is hardly be recognizable, as it is overgrown with grass and weed. The variation in crops, and letting the nature take its course regularly, keep the soil fertile and rich.
The members of Twungubumwe meet once a week to maintain the field. The harvest is equally divided among its members, who can then choose to keep it or to sell it on the local market. At the moment, the group’s main goal is to buy their own land, as now it is still hiring the plantation for a very high price. In addition, the group plans to buy and raise pigs. The animals’ dung can fertilize the plantation’s soil even more. Also, as explained on page 12, raising pigs forms an easy way of getting revenue for people in Rubavu, because of the high demand for pigs in the Democratic Republic of Congo.