We have mentioned it a few times in past postings, but want to dedicate an entire post to the grim situation that is Kenya’s current drought. Kenya desperately needs rain. Some reports say that there has not been a successful rain season in 4 cycles. Many of us cannot fathom the depths of the damage a severe drought can do in a country like Kenya. In a country where so many people’s livelihoods are dependent on farming and raising livestock, this continual lack of rain is devastating. Over 4 million people now face starvation due to food shortages, and many more are suffering daily due to loss of income, and the lack of drinking and cooking water. Livestock and cattle are dying all over the country, which only adds to the food shortage and the loss of income for farmers and pastoralists. Many people are fleeing the rural areas where they are no longer able to farm and are moving into the slum areas around towns. This poses new problems because an increasing slum population will almost certainly lead to more violence, crime, prostitution, and child labor, as people are desperate to get money and food. The drought is at a level now where it is even affecting the wealthier part of the population. The city of Nairobi is now having to ration water, only providing water on certain days of the week. This leads people to have to buy additional water and greatly modify how they use water. Even on our campus we have been affected. We have two boreholes on campus, and one is completely dry and we don’t know how long the other one will provide water. The school is looking into purchasing more water, and we will receive city water two days a week, but with a campus that has 500 students, over 100 employs, and the homes of over 50 people, a lot of water is needed for day to day operation. For now we are making some adjustments to our lifestyles. We are trying to limit showers to 5 minutes and take them less often (when possible), save water from showers and the sink by using water catches, limit toilet flushes, use saved water to flush the toilet, water plants, and wash the car, wear clothes multiple times (if possible) and limit clothes washing to one day a week. If we run out of water, worst case scenario, we will not be able to operate the school. As for now it is just an inconvenience, but we all recognize that our inconveniences are nothing in the greater scheme of things. Many people are losing their lives, livelihood, and homes, so please pray for rain.
On a slightly ironic and sad note heavy El-Nino rains are predicted to come within the next months, however many predict that these will cause great flooding in many areas. So many families in areas of Western Kenya are being asked to leave their homes and relocate in preparation for the flooding and mudslides that are nearly inevitable when rain does fall. Please pray for these people as well.
Here are links for further info: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/09/photogalleries/kenya-animals-drought-pictures/ http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/17/kenya-drought-cattle-deaths