Tereza Matias

When you say climate change, I see it in the changes here. I see the dry wells and the droughts that stop our crops growing.
Tereza Matias

Tereza Matias doesn’t need to be told about climate change.

“When you say climate change I see it in the changes here,” she said. “I see the dry wells and the droughts that stop our crops growing.”

Tereza lives in the Chikwawa district, in southern Malawi. In the distance behind the grass roofed homes of the village are the mountains that mark the border with Mozambique. There, she and her husband are raising their four children – but it’s getting harder.

“I travel across the border to Mozambique and do piece work in others’ farms and use the money to buy food I can bring back home,” she explains.

When she’s away, her small battered mobile phone, held together by an elastic band, is a lifeline back to her family – but it’s not easy to keep it charged as she has little or no access to energy.

“We are farmers, but it’s not easy. Last year our land produced three bags of Maize. The year before just eight.”

In a good year she’d hope for 20 bags.

Her explanation is simple, “The droughts are getting worse”.

Even in the winter the heat in Malawi is punishing, while in summer it is often over 40 degrees.

“The rivers run dry, and the only way to get water is to dig shallow wells in the dried up river beds,” she said. “But it’s not good water, people get sick.”

There have been several cases of cholera in the region reported this year from drinking dirty water. With the land dry and barren she has to travel to support her family.

Despite these challenges, Tereza refuses to give up and maintains hope that her family’s situation can get better.

“I have hope for the future - if we can find solutions to these problems.”