Name: Grace Taban Genova
Age: Around 38
Location: Outskirts of Juba, beyond Gudele West.
Does your spouse/partner live with you? No, we are separated. I live with my two brothers and four children
What is your primary job? Home-brewer
What is your monthly salary? In a day, I might make 20 SSP ($4.76), (about $142.90 per 30-day month) but when I don’t make anything, the children go without food.
What is your household’s total income - including your partner’s salary, and any additional same sources? Sometimes my brothers can come with between 15-20 South Sudanese pounds (SSP, about $3.60-4.76)* to support the family.
How many people are living in your household - what is their relationship to you? Eight people including four children, two brothers and Genoa’s mother who came to Juba from Kaya, a village near the border with Uganda. Previously 7
How many are dependent on you/your partner's income - what is their relationship to you? All eight. 7
How much do you spend each month on food? N/A
What is your main staple - how much does it cost each month? Maize
How much do you spend on rent? The place belongs to relatives, and they said we can stay here without paying.
How much on transport? I go to town maybe three or four times a week (to buy food and brewing ingredients), and it costs me 6 SSP ($1.43) there and back.
How much do you spend on educating your children each month? Genova’s two eldest daughters, Susan, 13, and Esther, are now going to school. Genova pays 75 SSP per year ($18) in fees. previously the children did not attend school
After you have paid all your bills each month, how much is left? Nothing, absolutely nothing.
Have you or any member of the household been forced to skip meals or reduce portion sizes in the last three months? When there is extra food, my brothers eat. But if they and I have nothing, they have to do without.
Have you been forced to borrow money (or food) in the last three months to cover basic household needs? N/A
When IRIN visited Genova in early May, she was too upset to speak; her 11-year-old daughter Esther lay prone on the bed, lacking the energy to even swat away at flies.
A week and several trips to the clinic later, Genova says Esther is still very ill, and that her baby, Emmanuel, has another upset stomach. Emmanuel’s hacking cough sounds bigger than his tiny frame. Genova has also discovered that one of her children is epileptic.
“This one has diarrhoea, and that one has a swelling on the leg, and it’s paralyzing it now. It won’t move. It started hurting, and then swelling, and now it’s like this. It started one and a half months ago.
“Feeding and sicknesses are the biggest problems in my life, and I can’t solve it. There’s no way I can make it happen. I just take them [the children] to the clinic, and it helps for a while.”
Genova’s home-brewing business is also in trouble.
“I used to get a bit more money, but nowadays no one wants to buy. It seems that everyone in the area is doing the same business and so it’s slower.
“I have no idea how much I’m getting per month or per week, it’s just day to day.
“My finances are completely down. I’m really poor.”
At present, eight people live in Genova’s house, including her mother, who came to Juba from Kaya, a village near the border with Uganda. Genova’s two brothers also live there; they help to supplement her income, but are finding it harder to get odd jobs.
“They’re not working anymore, and now we are having a lot of difficulty even feeding the family. Sometimes they can come with between 15-20 South Sudanese pounds [SSP, about US$4-5.25]* to support the family, but it’s not a constant job.
“My children rely on me. When there is extra food, my brothers eat. But if they and I have nothing, they have to do without.
“In a day, I might make 20 SSP [$5.25], but when I don’t make anything, the children go without food.”
“There has been no good news over the last few months. It’s just been bad weather and sickness. When it rains, it affects my business, which is already not as good as it used to be, and I think it makes the children sicker.
“The major problem is sickness, and the only hope is if the government sets up a clinic here and treats the children for free. There are some [clinics] around here, but they are commercial and it’s so expensive. How much you pay depends on the type of sickness - like if it’s typhoid, it’s 100 SSP [$26] plus; if it’s malaria, a bit less.
“But I have to make this work. Home is home, and I can’t leave. If I could just sort out education and feeding, we would be okay.”
The family’s main staple is still maize, which is ground and made into ‘posho’, a porridge. Accompaniments are few and far between.
“We eat greens and cabbage, maybe fish and meat once in a while, but it’s very rare.”
Genova also spends 6 SSP ($1.60) on transport almost every day to go to the market to sell her home-brew and buy food or take her children to the clinic.
The good news is that Genova’s two eldest daughters, Susan, 13, and Esther, are now going to school. Genova pays 75 SSP per year ($20) in fees.
“This much better than the rest of the schools that are more expensive.”
*Using unofficial exchange rate as of 26 June 2013 (4.2 SSP to US$1)