There were countless faces with great need in the drought stricken area of Kitui, Kenya. Our group from CWS had just arrived at the distribution center as a truckload of beans, maize, and maize seed were being delivered by National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) personnel. Already hours before the distribution were to begin there existed a huge group of people waiting to receive the aid. For many this would be a first meal in days and this would be the only food they would secure for the coming month.
Syombua Mbeva Kimali was just one of the hundreds of men, women, and children waiting in line to receive food that day. She stood out among the crowd waiting there that day. There was wisdom in her eyes and deep contemplation on her face. She looked to be ravaged by her circumstances. She also waited alone on top of a rock for her turn to receive the badly needed food. She waited for over four hours before she discovered that her name was not on the distribution list. She silently retreated to the wilderness of Kitui. She carried a defeated look and looked to be walking into certain death. She was pursued by members of the NCCK staff and brought back to the waiting area. There she was assisted under the shade of a large tree to obtain food.
Mama Kimali received that day one kilogram of beans and three kilograms of maize. She also received a bag of maize seed. As we sat there under the tree she shared her story with us. She lost her husband many, many years ago. Her sons had left the village to make and send back money.
They had not sent home money nor had they returned home. Her daughters soon followed and have not been heard from again. Proudly she claims her 105 years. She wears it like a badge of honor.
When asked about the food she received that day. She smiled and thanked the people that made it possible for her blessings. She said the four kilos of food would last her into the next month. She and the family she stayed with would plant the seeds. Mama Kimali happily proclaimed that she would be in the fields with the other women harvesting the crops and that the seeds would give her a sustainable food supply. This was well worth the over five mile walk she endured to get to the distribution center that day.
This emergency food distribution program is implemented by NCCK, a CWS partner, with the support of Action by Churches Together (ACT) to alleviate the need for provision during the initial phase of drought recovery. The implementation of drought recovery measures by NCCK and its member churches is all part of the larger action plan in Eastern Africa to elevate hunger and eliminate the dramatic suffering incurred in times of drought, flooding, and civil unrest. It is hoped that through such proactive initiatives as dam rehabilitation, drilling of boreholes, community education, and supplying farm inputs that the likelihood and magnitude of disasters shall be lessened in the future. CWS wishes to thank all of its supporters that walk with us as we continue to serve these communities.