Congo-Kinshasa: Making Ends Meet On a Tshukudu in Goma

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At his house, the diet is always the same. Fufu is served every day, with vegetables from the small family garden kept by his wife. The whole family waits for the day Biamungu receives his share from the tontine, a voluntary system of group savings. Only then can they afford some meat, fish or anything else that doesn't grow in the garden. For his wife, waiting for a week for the payment from the tontine feels like a year.

"I understand her impatience, because it's the only time she can afford to shop for various necessities, including clothes for her and the children," says Biamungu.

It worries him that he cannot cover the school fees for his children.

"I am already lucky enough not to pay rent as I inherited the house from my parents," he says. "Until I can afford it, I don't see how my children will get an education. Primary school is not free here."

In the meantime, it seems Biamungu will stay loyal to his tshukudu.

"I don't have a choice. This is what I can do best. I have tried a few other jobs, but nothing worked. This is my last chance," he says.

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