The Toughest Job You'll Ever Love...Kenya

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Too Much

I don’t know if you have heard any mention of Kenya or the Horn of Africa lately in the news, but if you have, you’ll not be surprised when I speak of flooding. For at least the past five years Kenya has been suffering under a drought. The northern, eastern and rift valley parts of Kenya have suffered the worst, but even here in the green western part of Kenya, the farmers have had a rough go of it with the reduced rainfall. Well, this year has been particularly rough.

First, it looked like the rains might start a little early, so all the mamas and framers got to work and put the crops out. After that disturbing false start, the rains stopped completely. The short rains did finally come, a month late. Then they wouldn’t stop! It has been so troubling for all of Kenya. The northern part of Kenya has been so petrified with drought that now that there is some rain falling, the ground is too dry to absorb it. This has led to widespread and devastating flooding, dire food shortages and many deaths. The flooding is happening in so many places, and it is a harbinger of worse to come. Not only will there be deaths by the initial catastrophe, but disease, homelessness and famine are sure to follow. Already the normal rainy season explosion of malaria is hitting near epidemic proportions. This isn’t even to mention the current explosion of typhoid in my town and I am just hoping that cholera and dysentery aren’t on the horizon. And still the rains haven’t stopped.

It is the end of December; we should be well into the dry season. January is the month that is actually quite hot here in Oyugis, not to mention unbearably dry and dusty. But instead of letting the maize dry in the fields and harvesting the beans, what little maize there is continues to get wet and the beans are near ruin. I was in a field the other day where there was literal mold on the beans. My friends and colleagues say that this time next year the price of maize will be four times its regular market price. Food security is always an issue for the people in my community, such a dramatic increase in price and likely shortages surely means I have friends that will be starving next year. I don’t even know what think or do. Sometimes I think being a PCV means feeling powerless and overwhelmed most of the time.


  • At 10:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Merry Christmay Misty n thanks 4 your updates..bin Ca.


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