Herbert Masopo
Chibombo, Zambia

To me, hunger has a face. It’s the face of my neighbors, my friends, my parents, my siblings. It used to be my own face, my wife Vivian’s, and those of my children.

I’m Herbert Masopo. I live in Zambia and I’m a farmer.

Life can be hard for farmers in Zambia. From September to November, when the rains stop, most of us have nothing to eat. Every year, my family lived this struggle first hand — until 2010, the turning point, when the dry season no longer meant we would go hungry.

That was the year I saw an irrigation pump demonstration in a nearby market. I had never seen anything like it before — it just didn’t exist out in the bush where I live.

I saw the pump pull water from the ground and spray it out with ease. I knew right then that this tool could forever change the way we farm and my ability to provide for my family.

As a father, my children are everything to me. If you’re a parent, you might say the same. But I hope you can’t relate to the guilt I used to feel when I would send my son to the free government school without a meal for days or shoes on his feet. I hope you’ve always been able to provide for your children — because it’s heart-wrenching when you can’t.

I knew I needed that pump. I saved, I borrowed, and I bought it.

Today, my family’s life is dramatically different, and I’m happy to say that my youngest children have not and will never know hunger. I even send my 14-year-old daughter to a private school in the city. She wants to be a doctor when she grows up, and I have no doubt that she will.

We’re a hard working family and charity for us was not the answer. I’m proud that I bought the pump on my own — it’s made our journey out of poverty dignifying.

I had always thought that these pumps were from a company — I did buy the pump from a store after all. But I recently learned that KickStart is an NGO and that there is a dedicated group of generous people that make their work possible. I learned that if it wasn’t for a donation from someone like you, I would never even have seen the pump demonstration that changed my life. The pump would have never reached as far as the shop in my village.

Right now, there are too many families living like we used to and not enough living like we do now. Today, you can change that. The power is in your hands to put the power in our hands.