We have all been reading about the severe drought and food shortages in Sub-Sahara Africa, but on a recent visit, Asante Africa Foundation personally witnessed the horrible struggles of the local people who are dealing with this on a daily basis.
Although school wasn’t in session for the summer break and no classes were being taught; at 1pm in the afternoon hundreds of children were making their way from the distant hills and traveling up to 10km to the school grounds. Every child was carrying some type of cup, bowl or container to hold a bit of food and many children were carrying another baby or smaller child on their backs.
The “Kenyans Help Kenya” program was providing food for all the school age children. An old classroom had been converted into a makeshift kitchen and the food that was being served consisted of a combination of maize, beans and a bit of soy product. This was to be the only meal of the day for these children. There was order amongst the chaos as all the children excitedly lined up in front of the makeshift kitchen, waiting for one of the local mamas to spoon food into their containers.
As each child received their bowl or cup back, full and no longer empty, they quickly grouped together to find a place to sit – the older girls together, the smaller toddlers and the mid-primary aged boys. They eagerly searched for stones to sit on, trees that might provide a bit of shade, or in one case, under a makeshift fort made of tarp, set-up by friends, for friends, ensuring they could all eat together.
Asante Africa Foundation happen to be at the school on this particular day to celebrate with the parents (mamas, babas and community leaders) as we signed a Memorandum of Understanding to begin building four new teachers’ houses in this tough, harsh teaching environment.
As we mingled with the children before the meeting began, we realized how critical the “Kenyans helping Kenya” program really is. Several of these children were emaciated, straddling on the edges of survival. Without food in their stomachs, an education could never be realized.
In spite of their hunger, the children behaved as all children do. They wanted to be photographed with their friends, they wanted to sing for us and they teased each other playfully. Children are the same worldwide, with the same hearts, the same desires and the same dreams; these particular children just happen to have the additional hardship of trying to survive day to day.
It’s important for each of us to pause and reflect on the fullness of our cups, bowls and containers. Knowing that as long as each of us do what little we can, our shared resolve in “THE POWER OF WE” —-will truly have a big impact