Imagine residing in a rural part of our country, where life revolves around the land that provides everything a heart could desire. Add to this scenario, a terrible drought lasting far too much time, a drought that devastates the entire rural region, ruining the lives of many hard-working men and women.
These hardships alone spark tales of woe, but there exists even worse fates for farmers and those who depend on them in some parts of the world.
Present in Southern Somalia, Djibouti, parts of Ethiopia and in refugee camps in Kenya exist some 12 million people, equivalent to half the population of Canada, who face death.
In Somalia, the number has hit crisis levels, with 4 million at risk as a result of drought and the civil war that plagued the area for so long. The cause of this famine is reportedly a drought, a drought caused by economic turmoil and the world’s problems.
Most famines occur in third world countries, where governments mismanage and rob citizens of the fruits of their labors. However, in the case of Southern Somalia, they must cope with an infestation of private armies and militias that prevent the rural Somalian citizens access to basic necessities like food, water and shelter.
In the cities, people can eat canned food and a range of other food products, but for farmers in East Africa, the normal foods are lentils and the bread made out of local grains.
If the grain crop is destroyed by drought, locusts or undue human intervention, the Somalian people lose their main foodstuff. The nomadic cattle ranchers have their own herds, and the livestock die for lack of pasture, are stolen or have to be sold, ruining their livelihood.
The biggest question that I have is why is it that relief efforts aren’t being publicized? Yes, I am aware that Somalia just ended a war, but did we not as Americans ask for help throughout history, help that was always granted?
Much still needs doing to aid the Somalians, much that we may do. Though there are organizations such as Samaritan’s Purse and World Vision, what are we as a Mercy College doing to promote awareness of these devastating circumstances?
As a school focusing on Mercy, are we not supposed to be “Socially Merciful, Globally Responsible, Compassionately Hospitable, Intellectually Creative and Reflectively Aware?” Are we not locally recognized as “Ambassadors of Service?”
Although I am new to campus, I issue a challenge to anyone interested in contributing to this cause. I firmly believe that we, as a community, can come together as one and make a difference.