Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sacred tears (Part 1)

Our tears are sacred. They water the ground around our feet so that new things can grow.

-Anne Lamott

Kenya is crying for rain.

The country is suffering from one of the worst droughts in its history and is on its way to becoming one of the most rain deficient countries in the world.

And the wounds are already profound…

1. Electricity has become sacred, as 70% of Kenya is powered by hydro electricity plants (one of which was shut down last month, leaving only 7 plants to support the country). In response, the government has begun rationing power to residential areas -- Even our house in Nairobi is without power three days a week. Personal inconveniences aside, one can imagine the toll this has on the economy, foreign investment and especially small businesses, which are being forced to shut down.

2. Livestock is suffering: over 150,000 cattle have already died and another 200,000 have fled to Ethiopia. Dairy farmers -- who sell milk from their cattle as re-occurring revenue streams -- are being forced to sell their goats and cows to butchers, before the cattle die of starvation. And because there are so many farmers stuck in this paradox, they are receiving prices significantly below market rate.

3. People are starving: the government has announced that 11 million are in need of food. Food insecurity has rapidly become the most pressing issue challenging Kenya. No other sort of development can take place if the basic needs of hunger are not being met. And although there have been red flags for months, the government can no longer ignore the crisis and initiated an emergency plan for food aid last week. Sadly, most fear it will be far too little.

It has become overwhelmingly obvious that something more needs to be done.

Maize crop that has failed to harvest due to the deficient rain.


  1. this is ridiculous! i'm devastated right now. . .

  2. (Sigh) I know...
    Overwhelming is nothing short of an understatement

    Part 2 will be more hopeful though
    There are def. some good things being done
    And in the works...