Together, Let’s Make Famine No More

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

 

 

Michele, leader of the Study Tour has shared her experience on the blog as she traveled through Burundi and spent time in Dadaab refugee camp. She is now back safely in the United States,  and today shares her perspective on the ongoing Famine in the Horn of Africa:

After several days in the Dadaab refugee camp in northeastern Kenya, my photographer, videographer, and I prepared for a grueling, seven hour drive home. As we bounced around in the Landrover, all I could see were miles of thorn bushes and sand on either side. Behind us and in front, the empty dirt road stretched on endlessly. For the first time in days, I felt alone and insecure. Dadaab was immense, however being surrounded by people—400,000 refugees to be exact—I always felt the comfort of others. During this leg of our journey however, if anything went wrong, there was nothing to protect us. We were alone in this vast expanse of a wasteland.

 

A few miles into the trip, I noticed an animal carcass on the side of the road. I watched in horror as we passed another one every minute or so. Some were fresh, and others had been picked to the bone by vultures. I thought of the thousands of individuals who had walked this same journey to Dadaab. Walked. Cattle, for many of these pastoralists, were their lifeline. Looking out at these deceased animals, I imagined the family that had owned them and the fear that must’ve gripped their hearts when their cattle lay down to die. The family’s dreams, hopes, nutrients and income all disappeared as the beast took its last breath. Perhaps the mother looked to her husband with a glance she hoped the children wouldn’t understand. Knowing the fortitude of these people, they likely kept walking, never looking back nor shedding a tear.

 

I had spent the last few days talking with families who had carried their belongings and children across this land, braving bandits, the unrelenting sun, and worst of all, the death of their children. Drinking tea in the morning and ignoring the gnawing hunger in their bones as they walked for weeks before finally arriving at Dadaab or other refugee camps. Taking on this land—even in a sturdy SUV—was intimidating. To think that children had slept here, using nothing but the stars as their blankets, made me sick to consider.

 

As I pressed my hand against the hot window, I thought about the countless times I heard people ask what the long-term solution is to this famine. I looked up at the blue sky, squinting against the sun, and sighed. The answer is simple: Rain. Only rainfall can bring life to these cattle and crops, allowing families to stay home. Unable to control the weather, the only thing left to do is quite simple. Give.  

 

Me.You. All of us. We are the solution.

 

We can care for those who have made it safely across the desert to crowded refugee camps. We can pray for the mothers who are burying their children next to their cattle. We can provide better options to the children who can’t attend school because they are too busy looking for food. Tens of thousands have already died and millions more are at risk and are depending on us to take action. They are depending on us to give.

 

Christ promised that the poor would always be with us, but He also gave us resources to care for them. Let’s not think of this as too big of an issue to solve, but let’s rise to the realization that perhaps this is exactly what we were created to do. Together, let’s put an end to famine in the Horn of Africa.

Editor’s note:  If you feel compelled to give, visit  http://bit.ly/giveHOA 

You can also sign up 30 Hour Famine and designate your funds to the Horn of Africa here: http://bit.ly/30HFsignup2012