Over the last few weeks, I've noticed some news articles concerning the famine that is devastating parts of East Africa. I have to admit that it's really hard to click on the links and actually read the articles and study the photos. Looking intently, and allowing myself the space and emotional energy to sit in the truth of the suffering and misery of others, interrupts my thinking about fun things like a new school year, an upcoming activity, or a latest purchase. But once I dare to take a look, it's hard to turn away.
I have so many questions:
Why is this happening?
How would I handle this situation if I were in the shoes of one of these women in the pictures?
What can I do to help?
And what can we do together to bring aid to these people? For now, maybe helping means donating money or praying for rain. But perhaps we also need to take a look upstream and make some changes to keep this situation from becoming a more regular occurrence. I wonder how much our daily practices affect the climate, causing the drought that results in food shortages.
Below are the link to a set of photos from the Atlantic as well as a thought-provoking caption from one of the photos. Please feel free to comment with any reflections or ideas for ways that we can take action.
Since drought gripped the Horn of Africa, and especially since famine was declared in parts of Somalia, the international aid industry has swept in and out of refugee camps and remote hamlets in branded planes and snaking lines of white 4x4s. This humanitarian, diplomatic and media circus is necessary every time people go hungry in Africa, analysts say, because governments - both African and foreign - rarely respond early enough to looming catastrophes. Combine that with an often simplistic explanation of the causes of famine, and a growing band of aid critics say parts of Africa are doomed to a never-ending cycle of ignored early warnings, media appeals and emergency U.N. feeding - rather than a transition to lasting self-sufficiency.