07 June 2011

Suffer ye little children


It's in the news today. Several people (seven to be precise) have died in Turkana from hunger. My first reaction on reading this was sheer sympathy. From there, begun the visualization of the whole scenario in Turkana in my mind. Picture this.
It is a typical day in Turkana. A mother wakes up early in the morning to the cries of her children. They are crying for food. She gives her husband a hopeless nudge to wake him up. He looks back at her helplessly, and urges her to go and attend to the kids. But what can she do? They have all tried to survive on the little food that they could get. Even the wild fruits that they have to scramble for with the entire village are barely left. With their only wealth of the cattle dead due to the drought in kenya, little hope is left for this family and the entire county. Unless, of course the Government comes to their aid.
Few can identify with the hopelessness such a mother must endure at such a time. Food is a most basic need, something that ordinarily should not be such a huge problem. I have seen some arid places of this country green with food crops from irrigation schemes initiated by the Government. Such people can have an all-year supply of food if such projects were well coordinated and the people educated on growing crops as an alternative source of food.
But first things first. Back to this family. The children are crying now, with the little one beginning to sound too weak from the biting hunger. What can a mother do in this case? She picks up the little one, gently rocking him in her arms too frail from continuous hunger and does the only thing left for a mother to do. She stuffs a fallen breast into his mouth. Empty. Such are the pictures that are captured on the pages of the world's dailies. Pictures of Kenya. He is quiet for a while as he tries to get sustenance nature's way. But he soon realises that even nature is not too kind to him this time round. And the wailing resumes albeit more like whimpering.
We read of such stories all the time. And watch them on the television. Momentarily we all shake our heads and thank God for our blessings and urge our kids to eat all the food put on their plate. There should be no waste while others are going hungry.
And so the statistics begin to flow in. Several people dying of hunger. That gets our sympathy glands fully tuned on. And we all do what little we can for our suffering countrymen. None of us knows the fate of those most affected. After all, we have our own problems to deal with. Like the rising cost of foodstuff and all essentials. Yet we forget that there are those who have no access to even the least of these. Who wake up each day not knowing what they will eat and go to bed nursing hunger pangs! More than most can take. Especially those little ones who have no way of fending for themselves. But have to depend on people so beaten by life themselves to even be able to take care of those in their care. Who will be the voice of these people? Who will come to the aid of the little children?
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