Mother of three boys and cook for Tribewanted, Yenken works from sunup to late in the evening. She’s a single mom and not by choice. Over a year ago when she was pregnant with Mohammed, her husband was killed in an automobile accident. Since property passes to the husband’s family, she and the children were forced to move from their village and ended up with friends in John Obey.
When Tribewanted kicked off its eco-tourism project in the village, Yenken landed her job with Tribewanted which has changed her life dramatically. She is now able to provide for her children and built a small home from some of the unused materials at Tribewanted. She also just received her first ever micro-loan through Salone Microfinance Trust (SMT). With the Le500,000 (US $125) from SMT, she plans to tarp her house to keep it dry and will use the rest of the money to stockpile palm oil for the rainy season when she hopes to sell it for a higher price.
Yenken was eager to show me her new home in the village. It’s a mud structure framed with sticks and has a tin roof. There’s no furniture and she sleeps together with her children on blankets stretched across the dirt floor. To most it wouldn’t seem like much of a house at all, but it’s quite the rarity to find a Sierra Leonean woman who has her own home.