Kicking Drought In The Face
It wasn’t so long ago that my sister turned 15. In my head she’s still 9. That’s the little sister syndrome though isn’t it? If they’re littler than you then you’ll always have that over protective ‘I want you to have the best of everything and for you to always be safe, and I’ll kick anyone/thing who compromises that in the face’ type attitude.
Marima is 15. She’s got two bro’s and two sisters. Her dad is a farmer and labourer while her mum looks after their home. In the current drought that Ethiopia is experiencing her family is surviving on food aid from the government.
'I am the only child going to school. On my way back home from school I collect firewood to sell for a little money, fetch water and help my mother on domestic affairs. Sometimes I work on a farm for 20 Birr (65p) per week.
With the money I earn from sales of firewood and daily labour I buy learning materials, soap, creams and few foodstuffs to feed my family. But now the money I get from farm work and sales of firewood is not enough to buy food. Life has become challenging.
Drought made our lives miserable. Food is not only scarce but also unaffordable.
Thanks to the school feeding programme I am now regularly going to school and attend classes comfortably. The food is so good that it makes me full for the rest of the day.
As food is so scarce in my family, I skip dinner to let my younger sisters eat my share. I am thankful for the food aid and school feeding programme support – otherwise there is nothing that my family will fall back on.'
This situation feels far away and intangible but it’s happening and our help is needed. The clincher for me is that I truly believe that we’re all connected and that I’m part of a family bigger than the one I was born into. That means Marima is my sister too.
So, it's time to act.
This is what I'm going to do: give what I can and what I have more than enough of. That money will go towards the feeding programme that Marima was on about. Because that’s what family is.
You can do it too.