Kenya is an interesting country to live in,while some Kenyans acquire the latest tech gizmo’s and fuel guzzlers,almost 2 million Kenyans in the arid and semi arid areas in Samburu are dying of hunger.All the signs were there last year but as usual we were to busy trying to make it big to notice the bumper harvest we had last year which if we had employed measures to store the extra bags of maize,wheat farmers harvested and the tonnes of milk that even had us experience a milk glut and which saw gallons go down the drain at the state owned Kenya Co operative Creameries,we would not be seeing the national shame that drought and hunger have now become.
In September of last year,the meteorological department issued a warning that 2011 would be a hard year for us because we would have less rain therefore planning should have begun then.But as usual warnings here are never taken seriously till we see the scrawny Samburu residents on national TV with even reports of death now coming in.Just a few days into June there are already reports of five people in Samburu who have died of hunger,full details of the crisis can be read here.
On the 8th of June ,we had the budget read ,things like wheat ,maize and rice were zero rated and this is meant to cushion hungry Kenyans who are already paying through the nose for basic food commodities.In Kenya fuel determines what you are going to pay for your packet of milk or for a 2 kilo packet of cornflour.At the moment global prices have been on the rise and so the ordinary Kenyan has had to dig deeper into their pocket to feed themselves and their families.Maize(cornflour),wheat flour and rice are staples in most Kenyan households and the direction their prices take whether north or south determine whether a child will go to bed well fed or sleep hungry.
It puzzles me that in an era where we have all manner of warning systems,where information is at our finger tips we still have the same problem we had back in the 80’s when the internet,mobile phones and satellites that track global weather pattern were non existent.Why are we failing our people,when they all die of hunger who are our leaders going to be leading ?
Maybe a time will come when no single Kenyan dies of hunger,where children,men and women will not have to boil wild berries to assuage the pangs of hunger,where planning for crisis will be a habit and not an afterthought and where we will not watch food go to waste while the rest of the country starves.I pray for a time where every Kenyan child will go to bed with a full stomach and not with the sickening knowledge that when dawn comes the biting stabs of an empty tummy will have them staring into space with no hope for the future.