“I planted 12 meda of soya beans, I expected to harvest 18-20 x 50kg bags, I only harvested 2 bags.”
“I planted 20kg of maize seed, I expected to harvest 60 x 50kg bags, there is no harvest, the rains just didn’t come after I planted.”
“I planted 15kg of maize seed, from planting the same amount of seed last year I harvested 32 x 50kg bags, this year I only harvested 12 bags.”
“I planted 15kg of maize seed, from planting the same amount of seed last year I harvested 32 x 50kg bags, this year I only harvested not even 6 bags.”
“I planted 10kg of maize seed, I only harvested 2 x 50kg bags, which my family has already eaten.”
“I planted 2 meda of ground nuts, I expected to harvest 10 x 50kg bags, I only harvested 1 bag.”
“I planted 20kg of maize seed, but I am fearing to go and harvest. There is nothing. The stems shot up out of the ground, but there is no maize on them.”
“I planted 10kg of maize seed, but there is nothing to harvest. I have given up.”
I could keep on going as we went around the circle with our Care Workers in Susu community, Kabwe and heard one similar story after another…
I haven’t been super vocal about the drought crisis to date, but it is a very tough reality facing many of the families we serve across Zambia, Malawi, DRC, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and it is not receiving much coverage in the news. Even as I write this, I can close my mind and see vividly a mother I met in Malawi in February, in a new community we are not yet working in, who sat and told us of how she had no food to feed her children, while her two small children (maybe 2 years of age) tried to suck milk from their mother, when clearly there was none. My heart breaks as I struggle to even write this…but the reality is that these children are unlikely to make it.
As Hands at Work, we very rarely run specific campaigns. We are focused on providing ongoing services to the most vulnerable children through long term partnerships, mobilising local and international churches. But this drought crisis is something we cannot turn our back on. It demands a response. And we are busy working every day, each week to try and stay ahead of how we need to be responding to the challenges in each of the 60+ communities we work in across Africa.
For more specific information, videos and stories of the challenges we are facing and how we are responding please see: http://www.handsatwork.org/droughtrelief
If you can give, I would encourage you to do so. If you pray, I would encourage you to do so. Stand with us at this time. This drought is personal to me, it has names and faces of many who do not have a voice. Families I see when I close my eyes at night. I must speak up on their behalf and we must do what we can.