A wife. Six children of his own. Three orphans in his care. Martin has many people depending on him, but as a farmer in rural Uganda, whose only source of income was the crops he grew in his garden, the burden was heavy.
It’s a situation common to many, made even more challenging because, as farmers, they’re all dependent on the weather—specifically, they wait expectantly for the rainy seasons that come only twice a year.
And though the rain may be scarce, his family’s needs aren’t.
If the rainy season was short, or too long, Martin’s crops would yield a smaller harvest. And when there was a good harvest, it was a good harvest for his competitors too, so the market price for corn and beans was so, so low. Selling his produce so cheap meant Martin was working in negative numbers.
No profit meant no money to pay school fees for all those children depending on him.
But then Martin was presented with an opportunity for a new source of income. And with this new chance, he dreamed big.
“I decided to become the talk of Timuna—in a positive way,” Martin said.
And that’s just what he did: Martin is now considered one of the successful pig farmers around Timuna village.
In 2017, Martin’s family received two pigs through Bright Hope’s Family Empowerment Initiative. The way Martin saw it, this was a chance to get out of his predicament. He was ready to leave his mark as a responsible father and a husband.
His garden efforts began to pay off—while everyone else was finding it hard to feed their pigs, Martin used his garden surplus to feed his. They pigs have been growing and multiplying at an encouraging rate.
“It has now been a year since I last struggled [to pay] school fees. My pigs are doing the paying for me. My children’s teachers also know me now. Every time I do not have money for fees, I go to them and explain that I will be selling a pig soon and pay up.” Martin said.
Remember those story problems from grade school math? Let’s walk down memory lane and solve a story problem about Martin and his pigs to see what kind of success he’s having.
Martin’s two pigs give birth to at least nine piglets with each litter. If he sells five piglets from each litter for 50,000 UGX ($13.50 USD), how much income does Martin make each time his two pigs give birth?
Did you say over $130? If so, you are correct, and Martin is one happy man!
Here’s the bonus question, so put on your thinking caps: If Martin sells five pigs from each litter, but each litter yields at least nine pigs, how many pigs does Martin have left over after he makes his sale? Answer: from those two litters he’s added at least eight pigs to his growing herd! The bigger a pig is, the more money it can be sold for later on.
“I used to feel inadequate before my wife,” Martin said. “She asked for things and I could not provide. Now she is happy, and our relationship has been strengthened.”
The money he makes from selling his pigs helps Martin pay school fees, take care of his family’s needs and also plan for his garden. As a man, he feels he is a worthy father to his children and a providing husband to his wife.
Martin’s main focus is to see his children through school and land good careers of their choice, as well as to build them a bigger family home.
Caring for the three orphans is also part of his big dream as he says, “I want to become a father to these fatherless children.”