Annie sits outside of her mud-plastered home, a small thatched canopy providing little respite from the Malawi heat. Her gaze focuses on some scribbled words on the side of her latrine: Tigwiritse Nchito Chimbuzi Moyenera Nthawi Zonse.
Let’s use the latrine properly at all times.
What may sound like a simple message bears a constant reminder to 37-year-old Annie of one of the scariest time of her life.
“The memories are still fresh,” she says. “I was working in the fields when I felt my stomach churn.”
Annie suddenly fell very sick. Too weak to walk back to her home or call for help, Annie collapsed in her field, where some community members later found her and quickly took her to the hospital.
“It was terrifying,” Annie says. “All I could think about was my six children. My husband died several years ago, so I’m a single parent. Who was going to look after my children if I died?”
Annie had cholera, as did five other people in her small village. She was the only one who lived.
“I survived,” she says solemnly. “But the experience scared me and I didn’t want to go through it again.”
As the sole survivor, Annie was committed to finding a solution – she didn’t want herself, her children, or anyone in her community to be at risk for cholera.