Kenya: The cupboards are bare
Right now, the kitchen cupboards of Kenyan pastoralists are empty.
Even at the best of times it would be wrong to speak of abundance, but these days they are just bare.
The closest thing to a decent meal
Entering the traditional, twig-built kitchen of Ladhan Mohamed, I watched her prepare the evening meal for her family.
Three-year-old Abdullah stood behind his mother, leaning against her back, whilst 11-year-old Saadia came in to see what the commotion was all about.
Two pieces of wood were quickly set on fire. Although I was present, I didn’t actually notice how the fire was lit; the flames seemed to start from nothing.
Whilst Ladhan squatted on the red earth ground, the late afternoon sun was shining through the twig walls.
Next to her, a bag of corn soya blend supplied by Save the Children stood open – the closest thing to a decent meal she can provide for her children right now.
She clenched a fistful of the powder, dropping it in the water and stirring with a huge wooden spoon until it all dissolved.
Hanging on the wall was a leather container for milk. It hadn’t been in use for a good while; none of the animals have milk to give.
Apart from these simplest of commodities, her kitchen is empty.
Children dying and suffering
It is a hardship and poverty which is difficult to explain to anyone I know.
Is it shocking? No, it’s the way of life that pastoral communities have lived forever.
The bad news is Ladhan’s lifestyle, and that of her people, is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain.
You can call it lack of rain, climate change, lack of investment, no education, no will power or creativity to initiate change – but children are dying and suffering.
Help is needed in so many ways.
Blog from Wajir by Philip Crabtree, Regional Communications Coordinator in East Africa