Marie Namkona

Marie Namkona has a calm disposition and shy smile and is always one of the first to arrive at work in the morning. Every day, she and her husband walk into town together where their roads split. She goes to Ndara’s production office and he goes to his work as a cook in a house up on the hill. Marie was the very first woman to work for Ndara; through friends she had heard about the initiative and came looking for an opportunity to work, demonstrating just the tip of the iceberg that is her determination and decisiveness.

What made you come to Ndara to look for work?
I never finished school because I got pregnant when I was myself a child. I have raised my 9 children through a lot of hard work and prayer. Now my children are grown up, but I still want to do better for my family. And I want to learn new things! In life you have to always want to learn. So I came to Ndara, looking for an opportunity to learn new skills, and to work.

What do you love most about your work?
To be honest, it gives me a break from the everyday household chores! I love coming to work in the morning and to sit here, stitching, braiding, learning, and spending time with the other Ndara women. We talk about life, and Ndara gives me a reason to dream about new things I could do and learn in the future.

What are your goals in life?
As for all mothers, my first goal is for my children to be happy and safe. So I do what I can for them, and for my grandchildren. We live 17 people in one small house, so I would like to be able to build another house for my family. But for myself; I would love to travel! I have never left the Central African Republic, and I dream about going to other countries. Imagine going to Cameroun! Or Congo?

Racey Henderson