Who is on the plum tree?
When my husband, Doug was called up to return to Africa as an Emergency Aid Consultant with a well-known Overseas Aid and Development Charity, I decided I would blog about it. Some of you might be interested to learn about the ins and outs of how someone enters an unknown country to set up something such as this. I hope to elucidate some of the pit-falls, successes and touching stories experienced when engaging in the plight of children and their families facing daily starvation, displacement, and abject poverty.
I begin this journey by offering a brief background to the feeding programme that Doug is setting up in Niger…
The city of Niamey, capital of Niger, seems peaceful now, safe and ready to move forward with ‘Democracy’ (after a short civil war). Primarily, Niger is sahel, which means it is within a belt that spans Africa all the way from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. The Sahel forms a transition between the Sahara desert in the north and the Sudanian Savannas in the south. The Arabic word, sāḥil ساحل literally means ‘shore, coast’ and is derived from the appearance of the vegetation that grows there and which, delineanates sand from savanna.
The people are pastoral and eke their existence from growing a few crops. As with all sahellian peoples and regions in east and west Africa, they are affected by Climate Change, which means that droughts are more frequent. Recurring drought undermines natural, traditional coping mechanisms. Locals no longer have sufficient animal herds to trade for food during their ‘poorer’ years, as having had fewer ‘good’ years, they have been unable to rebuild herds. This has been the situation in Niger for at least a decade. This means, the situation an already poor country is facing is now serious. Niger is home to 25% of all African children who are acutely malnourished.
Horn of Africa
Gulf of Guinea
Red Sea Africa