By Seggy Hannington
Yesterday at 4am, I left for Teso Sub-region which is badly hit by the looming famine in Africa. The journey took me more than 8 hours by bus, and as I was seated I kept thinking, “what will they think when they see me with my camera and jeans? Will they welcome me? Will they chase me away blaming me that WE have abandoned them? Will they say I am part of the government that said that they are suffering because they are lazy??”
Well, a lot was going on in my head as the bus rolled out to this land. I had a stop over in Mbale which is also a District in eastern Uganda, then traveled to Soroti district. I will not go into the details of travel experiences because the transportation was horrible.
I arrived in Katakwu district and rode on a motorbike for about 80kms to Ngariam Sub-County. It has about 6 villages, and all the villages are hit by famine. As the motor bike rolled in everyone came running to me smiling and welcoming me. The kids came in large numbers and so did the elderly people in the village. They all looked frail and hungry. Their tummies looked very empty and deep in their eyes they seemed to have no hope.
The kids were all over me asking me for food and so were the parents. I explained to them that I was there to see the situation and go back and see what we can do. Most seemed disappointed and I do not blame them; they are right. All they need now is FOOD, not PROMISES.
They cooperated with me and they asked me to take as many photos as possible. Families now take just one “meal” a day, a meal of dried cassava and some kind of grass. Wheat is also prepared and eaten. Many do not even have salt–salt is a luxury so they say. (NOTE: without the sodium in salt, a person becomes delusional and loses consciousness, has seizures and dies.)
They would love to work on the fields, but there are no rains so nothing will come out. They planted food last year but floods destroyed everything; they planted again, but no rains have appeared thus all plants are dying out and causing the famine.
I met Mr.Eugenio, who is an old man and lives alone in his grass thatched hut. He has spent a couple of days without food. He has no kids or anyone to help him. He only has a blanket that he sleeps on. He has no bed, no utensils, et al. He is in abject poverty. I looked at him and I couldn’t stop thinking the kind of life he is living and how it would be if it were me in his shoes. There are many Eugenios here, and I could not stand hearing all their stories because my heart was being broken.
Electricity and piped water are not anywhere in their dream. All they want is food and water to keep them going.
I would not well bring out a true picture of the situation in words, but I call upon you to see the photos that I have uploaded in my album “Teso Famine.”
ALL IS TOLD, SO WHAT???????????????
Yes, YOU can do something to change this situation. As Christians we are called upon to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. A friend in need is a friend indeed. What kind of friends do we want to be?????
God bless you lots in all that you are doing for the good of the Kingdom. We have fundraising that is going on. I am sure it will be successful. I urge you all to PRAY for and ACT on behalf of these people.
If you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday. Isaiah 58:10