Meet Some Very Talented Women
Jane Jane Aoko...
Jane Lee... Marge
Mary Achi... Mary Awin...
Milli... Rose
Our F(y)sh story and (y)ours:

It all started when a guy with a backpack decided to see what was under the hood in Africa. While he traversed through the thoroughfares and open fields of this massive continent, he saw communities that were devastated by poverty and pain. Much of it levied upon the poorest of the poor. Tragically, they are least able to cope with the pains of life, but all too often the greatest recipients of these hardships. This is their story of oppression, suffering and ultimately triumph.

What is a FYSH story? It is the story of individuals, families and communities who's lives have been transformed by the interjection of hope. This hope is brought to them by (Y)ou. Through that one purchase, it transforms… through that one purchase, it provides… through that one purchase, it sustains.

Our goal at 2fysh is to help transform communities where the poorest of the poor survive. Providing consistent work is the greatest tool in that transformation. As we create products and services, which are distributed here, we help create an environment that is consistent and life affirming. Thanks for taking the time to read. Remember your purchase means something.

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Rose

Rose Auma

  • March 23rd, 2007
  • Age: 45
  • Location: Central District Kenya, Africa
  • Status: Widow since 1997 was married to Joseph
  • Children: 1 girl (Sharon)
Fysh Story:

Meeting Rose, you encounter a quiet and gentle spirit. She is very deliberate and humble. Rose does not disclose much personal information. She keeps many of her life experiences private. What we do know is that her husband died from a disease where the symptoms were consistent with AIDS. She does not publicly disclose this information due to its isolating nature. AIDS still is an anathema in these villages.

After the death of her husband, she had no resources and no way to support her daughter. So she began selling vegetables at the local market to try and make ends meet. This is a difficult and often unproductive. With the help of a local micro enterprise organization, she learned how to catch and sell fish (a traditionally male dominated occupation). This helped, but it still was not enough. Both options depended upon local customers and with most individuals making less than $40 a month, her income could not support her and her daughter. With the help of 2fysh, she hopes to secure financial freedom and support her daughter through school. 2fysh helps provide her with a consistent income. It is a start in the right direction for her life.

Fysh Dreams:
  • To serve God and see Him fulfill her destiny.
Milli

Millicent Achola

  • March 23rd, 2007
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Mbita, Kenya, Africa
  • Status: Widow since 2000, was married to Shem until his death to AIDS
  • Children: 1 boy (Brian 8 yrs), 1 girl (Dickens 10 yrs)
Fysh Story:

Today, you would never know that Millicent was on her death bed in 2005, waiting to meet her Maker. Millicent's life was far different from those of other widows within her community. Her life was stable and she had been blessed with a well paying job as a hotel receptionist. This allowed her to exercise one of her greatest passions, engaging with people. But in early 2000, her husband contracted AIDS, which he passed along to her and her eldest son. Shortly thereafter he passed away along with her eldest son. Then the HIV virus erupted into full blown AIDS in her as well. She was on her death bed, her body racked with sores. She had lost half her body weight and had no strength left. She was very close to death.

As she recounts, "I had sores all over my body and I was ready to die… My thought was of the children and how they would become orphans." She cried out to God to spare her life for the sake of her children. She says at that moment she was miraculously healed. Since that day, she has had no recurrence of the disease. She has never taken any medication and continues to live a strong, healthy and vibrant life. She hopes, through this business endeavor, to see her children provided for and finish their education. She believes that her faith has healed her and she refuses to succumb to this disease, which has destroyed so many lives. She lives passionately for her children and their future.

Fysh Dreams:
  • To provide for her family
  • To own a home
  • Through the funds that this business provides,she hopes to start a small hotel with a nice garden in the back.
  • To glorify God in all that she does
  • To own a home someday
Marge

Margaret Acheng

  • March 23rd, 2007
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Mbita, Kenya, Africa
  • Status: Widow since 1997, was married to Sampson
  • Children: 4 boys (Geoffrey, Brian, Reagan, Tony)
  • 2 girls (Violet, Dolphin)
  • adopted orphans: 3 boys (Peter, Kevin, Amos), 2 girls (Charity, Reese)
Fysh Story:

Margaret LOVES life. Her personality is contagious. Even though she has difficulty with her English, she has little difficulty conveying her joy and what her desires are in life. Unlike most women in her situation, the impact upon her family was first felt through her versus her husband. They were living a life that most would envy. Their family was strong and active in their community. Everything changed one day, when she was diagnosed with cancer. The disease began to shred her body. In order to save her life, she had to have multiple surgeries and radio/chemo treatments. Because she was going through this incredible ordeal, the family finances were impacted severely. As a result of the financial burdens, her husband Sampson took some entrepreneurial initiative and began a secondary fishing business.

One night, while out fishing, he did not return home. They sent out search parties to try and find him, but were unable to find him. They all assumed that he fell into the water and drowned during the night. The impact was tremendous. One parent battling with cancer and another lost to the sea and with no apparent means of financial support, the family was in dire straits. She was finally healed of cancer, which she credit completely to God and His mercy. To add suffering to misery, after her healing, she was driven out of her village, because the villagers thought she was cursed! Her life has been hard since her husband died, but she has never been bitter.

She followed her late husband's lead by starting her own micro business. She taught herself to make baskets out of banana husks and sell them at the local market. She has transferred this knowledge to other widows and helps them make the transition from married life to widowed life. She has such a HUGE heart that she also has adopted additional children (orphans) into her home. She feels she can make a difference in their lives as well.

Fysh Dreams:
  • To see the lives of widows and their community change.
Jane

Jane Auma John

  • March 23rd, 2007
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Kwachuench, Kenya, Africa
  • Status: Widow since 1998, was married to Amos
  • Children: 4 children (3 boys, 1 girl)
  • Felix - 22, Victor - 20, Jerry - 16, Rose - 9
Fysh Story:

Before coming to know the God of the universe, Jane often saw herself as "defeated… a widow who knows suffering". Her story is different from many of the other women whose husbands passed away. After the death of her husband Amos, Jane thought that her life was over. In many cases the husband's families take complete ownership of the widow's property (if they had some) and any material possession. Women in this culture have no legal rights to property. Her in-laws did the opposite. They accepted Jane and her children into their lives and their home.

However, surviving has been difficult. Her minor income by selling vegetables in the local market has not been able to provide for the education of her children. Her boys Felix and Victor have had to discontinue their education, to help provide for their family. Jane's younger children are still in school. She hopes with the help of this new business venture that all her children will be able to go school and see dramatic changes in their lives.

She is now a grand mother. Felix is married and recently gave birth to twin girls.

Fysh Dreams:
  • To see her children get an education and obtain to greater things
Mary Achieng

Mary Achieng

  • March 23rd, 2007
  • Age: 30
  • Location: Mbita, Kenya, Africa
  • Status: widow since 2003, when Joshua her husband died of Aids
  • Children: 3 boys (Michael 12, Marvin 6, Steven 6,)
  • 2 girls (Jena 14, Kristin 10)
Fysh Story:

It was difficult to get too much information from Mary. She is very quiet and shy. As with most widows in the community her life has been difficult since the death of her husband. Because she had no marketable skills, it was difficult for her to find work. Her constant concern was feeding her children.

She was finally able to find work as a "maid". There are a group of compassionate families that she works for by cleaning and doing their laundry on a weekly basis. However, this does not provide enough of a financial support (she makes less than $7 dollars a week) other than helping family eat.

She hopes that the 2fysh venture will be successful, so that she can have consistent work and is able to provide security for her family.

Fysh Dreams:
  • Provide for her family
  • Provide an education for her children
  • Own a home
Mary Awino

Mary Awino

  • March 23rd, 2007
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Mbita, Kenya, Africa
  • Status: widow since 1998, George her husband died of malaria
  • Children: 1 boy - David
  • 2 orphans - Jacob -22yrs & Pauline - 13yrs
Fysh Story:

Mary always had a difficult marriage. Life in Africa can be hard and cruel, especially if you are a woman. Her husband was an alcoholic and abusive towards Mary and her son. She best describes her home as "scummy, like the outside". After her husband died of malaria, she had difficulty supporting herself and her children. Her one desire was that her son David might go to school and lift himself out of the situation which she found herself living in.

Through some local friends she met a contact with USAID, which integrated her into a training program. This was a turning point in her life. Through the training, she was able to learn how to sew, a life changing skill which will immensely help integrate her into the 2fysh family.

Fysh Dreams:
  • She desires to build a proper home for herself and children.
  • Provide for her childrens education.
Jane Okeyo

Jane Leelah Okeyo

  • March 23rd, 2007
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Mbita, Kenya, Africa
  • Status: Widow since 2000, was married to Jonah
  • Children: 6 boys (Bosco, Ronald, Clinton, Gilbert, Levington, Hubert)
  • 1 girl (Josephine)
Fysh Story:

Jane is very quiet. English is very difficult for her; given her native tongue is Swahili. She says she has never had a "happy" life. Even in her marriage things were difficult. After the death of her husband to an infection, Jane looked to the community to help support her and her children. To add to an already difficult situation, she had multiple medical emergencies. This time was so difficult in her life that she contemplated suicide.

But she said everything changed back in 2004. In that year, she says she had an appointment with the living God. She said that the encounter changed her life and gave her hope to carry on. She says she now has strength and hope for herself and her children. She says that her extended family, which had shunned her, now accepts her.

She describes herself as a person committed to help her children live a long and prosperous life. Her main concern now is raising them and providing then with a good education.

Fysh Dreams:
  • Support her family and provide her children with an education.
Jane Ochieng

Jane Aoko Ochieng

  • March 23rd, 2007
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Mbita, Kenya, Africa
  • Status: Widow since 2000, was married to Shadrack
  • Children: 4 girls - Cynthia, Lillian, Marilyn, Lorien
Fysh Story:

Jane's story is a particularly difficult one to listen to. When you see Jane, the first thing you notice is her BIG smile. She shines. It has not always been this way. She was living the life that most of us desire. She was married to a man that truly loved her. Her family was on the way and growing. She had both the financial and emotional support of what a good marriage can offer. Then one day her husband contracted malaria and everything changed. He eventually succumbed to it and lost his life. Not only did she suffer his loss, but also the loss of everything they owned to her in-laws. Because she had no male children, by law, she could not own or inherit property. As a result, her in-laws took her home and all her possessions. For a long time, she did not know what to do. Her only hope was to try and follow the track of many widows and sell vegetables at the local market. This was not enough to provide for her and her daughters.

Jane eventually teamed up with a local micro enterprise group and learned dress making skills. With the skills she possesses, she is an invaluable resource to 2fysh as a seamstress. Her hope is that with the growth of this business, she can buy a home for her children and put them through school.

She says she's too young to be a widow and jokingly says "she's not a widow because they are too old"

Fysh Dreams:
  • She desires to build a proper home for herself and children.
  • Provide for their education.