A few years ago, when we still had half days at school, we would eat our lunches at noon. And we weren't allowed to eat any time before that. I would have breakfast at seven, and then I would wait until noon to have anything else. And one day I had a hunger stomachache that was so bad I wanted to leave school.
That's 5 hours without food. It may seem a little bad, especially with no water or even a little snack. But when I got home I could have tons of food. Walk in the pantry, there's food. The fridge, food. The stores, stocked with food of all sorts. We never have a shortage of food.
But imagine not eating for days - not just 5 hours, but days - in a line cramped with other starving people in the stifling heat, waiting for a small high-energy biscuit or a cup filled with caloric and nutrient-rich porridge. And then camping in plastic makeshift tents waiting for the next rations.
This is how the people in Somalia and Kenya are living right now. Emaciated and tired, men, women, children, teenagers, and infants wait outside of huge tents filled with humanitarian workers trying to provide enough food until the next plane lands to deliver more. Thousands are devastated by a drought that has killed all of the crops that they relied on for food. And the dust from the drought flies around with the wind, looking much like the Dust Bowl in the Great Plains of the US, with dust and other particles become trapped in their lungs, making them even more parched.
Thousands of kids are malnourished and dying of horrific diseases. In pictures I have seen, kids with a fine layer of red dust coating their skin are so thin that their ribs, clavicles, and eye sockets can be seen, their eyes are bloodshot and glassy from tears. They are dying, their whole population is dying, and they can't get out.
Organizations like the World Food Programme are there helping day and night, but this alone is not enough. Food is running out and more is needed to help these people survive. What will happen to the dynamic of their country if thousands of people die? What will happen to their country? to Africa? After all, Kenya and Somalia make up a large part of Eastern Africa.
We have the power to help. And there are tons of ways you can help. See that button on my homepage of this very blog? It's my hunger campaign, my direct link from WFP to get others to donate. And donating can be small - even $5 can help pay for at least 5 people to eat a meal. And that's one family. And with each person donating to help, we can help feed these people so that other organizations can focus on moving them to a safer environment. Or, if you don't have too much to donate, you can always go to Free Rice and answer questions on any topic - English vocabulary, math, chemistry, French, geography - and you will donate rice as you play. It's a great way to help if you don't have money to donate.
This is my request for these people. They need help. And if this were us, we would hope that we got the same amount of love from other people.