The Effect of Aids
In the late 1980s Aids was causing many extra deaths in Mary's local area, affecting half the adult population between the age of 15 and 55 years, resulting in many children being orphaned and having to fend for themselves.
This decimation of adults of 'bread-winning' age had a devastating effect on the whole local economy.
Prior to the Aids pandemic, orphans in Kenya had been relatively few and children could be cared for by their relatives.
By the 1990s however the number of orphans had become overwhelming. Mothers usually dying around the same time as fathers leaving relatives too burdened with their own poverty to be able to care for more children in addition to their own.
The older generation too were also left unsupported at a time when traditionally their chidren would be expected to be able to look after them as they retired from strenuous activities like farming and performing chores.