Carlina Nortino is 15. Her husband Horacio Manuel is 16. They were married when she was just 13. He promised her father MT 1,500 ($25) for her hand in marriage. The couple live in the village of Nataka in Larde district, Mozambique. Their first child was still-born earlier this year.
“My name is Carlina Nortino. I am 15 years old. I got married when I was 13.
“I didn’t expect any party. Today, I regret the fact that I got married, because I wanted to continue my studies. The most important thing for me was school. I was dreaming of studying to become a midwife. But I couldn’t because I was poor.
“It was never my desire to get married at that young age. I wanted to go to school. But I was forced to by my father, who realised that he couldn’t support me anymore. I am not happy.
“I dreamed of getting married at the same age as my sister. She got married much later because my father was able to support her to go to school. It’s a shame that my father couldn’t support me to study more.
“I dreamt of reaching a class that would have allowed me to get a job in a proper company or for the state. Even now I have that dream, of continuing with my studies.
“I studied until second grade. But my father became ill, so I had to help my mother in the field. I was farming for two years.
“When my father was farming, we had a lot production. But when he got sick, and my mom was farming alone, there was less rain. The area was becoming dry and the production started to decrease. The big trees that were there had been cut down.
“At the time where I was farming with my mother, we used to get 15 to 20 bags, 50kg bags, of cassava. Today, it’s maybe one or two bags. The production started coming down because of the lack of rain.
“The rain doesn’t come anymore. The water we used to have at the bottom of the plant isn’t there any more. So it’s impossible to produce more than three bags.
“I remember when I saw people here fishing. I used to sell the fish, I took it from the fishermen and went to sell it to the village. There was water everywhere. I remember seeing Horacio with the other fishermen. But without rain, the fish died. The water disappeared four years ago.
“When Horacio appeared the marriage seemed like a help for my parents.
“Horacio liked me and he went to see my parents and asked for my hand. The family didn’t have enough food to survive. So my father accepted the proposal because he couldn’t support me to go to school.
“I gave birth a month early this year. The pregnancy was a problem from the beginning. I was ill during the whole pregnancy. When I entered in labour, they took me to the hospital. There I started having problems, the doctors saw that they couldn’t do anything else for me, so they suggested we should go to a bigger hospital. But my parents didn’t have the means to take me there. So I stayed there and I gave birth to a very fragile baby. So he didn’t survive.
“The baby should have stayed in an incubator. But they didn’t have that in the hospital were I went. So they didn’t have the means to protect him.
“I am sure that if my father and my husband weren’t that poor, my son would be alive.”
The husband’s story
“My name is Horacio Manuel. I started fishing here when I was seven years old. I used to get seven to 10 fish at that time.
“But today it is not possible, because there are no more fish. I can’t fish anymore because the fish don’t have water any more. The water disappeared.
“Now, I started to do agriculture. I am a farmer now. It is true that I don’t produce a lot, not as much as we used to before because there is no more rain. Before, the rain stated in September and came regularly until March. Now the rain only comes in January and February and that’s it.
“It’s impossible to do business or even to eat enough with what I produce. Again, because it doesn’t rain a lot, I don’t produce enough, maybe one or two bags. And those barely allow us to survive.”
The father’s story
“I am Carlitos Camilo. I am 49. I used to be a fisher man and a farmer. The farming was my main activity, that is how I managed to support my family.
“I had one hectare of land. I used to produce a lot, or at least I managed to produce enough to support my children and feed my family until the next year. I also managed to sell some of what I produced and support the education of my children or even store some of what I had produced for those periods where the production stopped.
“But since 2005 or 2006, people who have more than two hectares don’t manage to produce even what I used to produce with one hectare. The problem is the lack of rain. I has decreased a lot, it has almost disappeared. In terms of fishing, I used to get a lot of fish. But today, there is no more fish, again because it doesn’t rain enough. Without rain, the fish are not able to reproduce anymore. In the past, there was an estuary, where the lake and the sea meet, where the fished reproduced. There were many kinds of fish. But today, they don’t exist anymore, because that area turned dry.
“It wasn’t my will to marry my daughter. If I was able to feed my children, I wouldn’t have pushed her to get married so young. Look at my other daughters, they grew up, they went to school, they got married at a normal age.
“My first daughter finished secondary school in 2013. She got married at 22. The second one, finished 11 class. She got married at 20.
The third one is in primary school. Her uncle is helping me to support her.”