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A road is a great achievement

A man standing on a rocky road

Mohammed Kawkabah on the new road in his village

Mohammed Kawkabah on the new road in his village

Remote and forgotten Massaqel village is at the top of the mountains in Hufash district of Yemen’s Mahwit governorate. Massaqel suffers from a lack of easy road access to and from the village, and for many years its residents have not been able to get the food, medicine and other goods that they need.

Mohammed Kawkabah is 45 years old and works as a teacher in the village school. Like the quarter of the Yemeni population who are affected by salary cuts due to the ongoing conflict, Mohammed has not received his monthly salary in a very long time. Due to an accident a few years ago he is not able to find work to support his seven children. “I was working with the villagers to build a road at that time,” he says in tears, “When a rock collapsed on top of me and broke my legs.”

Mohammed says the road was extremely dangerous for drivers to cross through to the village. “One day we had to get out of the car and walk the road on foot, because the driver was not able to drive in such bad conditions and with such narrow turns. People here have very hard lives with many difficulties.”

Mohammed still clearly remembers when his daughter Buthaina was born seven years ago. “I needed to take my wife to the city hospital, but there were no available vehicles. A car from a nearby village eventually came to take her, and at some point the driver couldn’t move forward in the road. We got out & with other men we moved earth and stones, but it was too late and my wife gave birth to my daughter in the car.”

Many accidents also happened on this road, Mohammed tells us. “Three cars were lost: one flipped and killed a passenger, another dropped into the valley and another fell onto agricultural terraces.” He says the road was the villagers’ main concern, that they were without hope, unable to transport what we needed or travel to get medical care.

Fortunately for Mohammed and residents of the village, CARE intervened with a cash for work project in Mahwit. CARE rehabilitated the road through extending it, paving it and building walls – approximately 4km in total. The villagers had the chance to work and earn a much-needed temporary income.

A winding mountain road cutting through rocky terrain.
The newly constructed road from Massaqel village

“CARE is the only organisation to help us to build a road on this dangerous mountain,” says Mohammed. “People are now able to rent cars more cheaply than before, and we can reach the local markets in minutes. With easy access to our village our souls feel joy. I even feel like we have a highway. This is a great achievement.”

More than eight surrounding villages will now be able to use the new road to have access to what they need. Mohammed says: “I wish that CARE would continue to help us by paving some of the dangerous bends, and building walls to protect the road from floods and rains.”

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