Monday, 1 July 2013

He is crying because he is hungry

Went back to the village today, this time to interview two farmers. Spoke with two ladies and interviews went very well. Both were very happy to stop their cooking for me while we did it, even though we explained we could come back. Everyone was very happy to help and very kind and respectful. It must seem strange having visitors come in from the city and another country.

The one lasting memory of today though is, as we were leaving, we went to thank a lady who helped us find the farmers we were looking for. While we were waiting, outside her house there was a younger lady with a baby in her lap and a few children on the floor in front. One of them was crying very loudly. All of the children looked like they were suffering from a poor diet/not enough food. My colleague explained to me "she was explaining that he is crying because he is hungry".

Here, in May people usually harvest their staple crop - maize. This was about two months ago. Now, in villages across the country, partly because of the poor rains last year, children this like boy are suffering because they are not getting enough food. As a result, most of those in their early years will be stunted forever and so if they are lucky enough to survive and have their own children, they will probably suffer a similar fate.

This fact of life for so many people is hidden from us in the UK and other high income countries because the news programmes and newspapers only report on it when there's a famine and we decide whether or not to send a text to donate £5 or £10. The thing is, the suffering isn't just happening when we see it on our TV screens. It's happening all the time, right now, and it shouldn't. It's not right that even one child should cry because they don't have enough food to eat and be irreversibly damaged for the rest of their life just because they happened to be born in a particular village in a particular part of the world. Also, we DO HAVE the resources in the world to work faster to stop this happening. It's just a case of whether we decide we want to put them to use.

Back tomorrow to the village for the final two interviews.

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