Please pray with us for the people of Africa
So how has the weather affected your summer? What would we Brits talk about if it weren’t for the unpredictable nature of our weather! But whatever the weather did or didn’t do this summer will it have any real impact on our lives? There will still be food available (if a few pence more expensive) at whichever supermarket we care to visit.
For some of our Christian brothers and sisters the story is very different – in Zimbabwe a deputy teachers salary for a month will now only buy 4 loaves of bread, people queue all day outside a shop rumoured to have some mealie meal (staple food) only for it to close a few minutes after it opened, most not having been able to buy any.
In many parts of Africa people have been hit very hard by rocketing food prices. In parts of Ethiopia, they have doubled since January and in Somalia rice costs three times what it did 12 months ago.
The urgent situation in East Africa has been compounded by drought; late rains mean the crops now in the fields are not yet ready to eat. Tearfund’s church partners in East Africa are distributing food and have ongoing projects distributing seeds and tools to help farmers make the most of any rainfall and secure their next harvest.
Lack of rain means that harvests fail and pasture land for livestock dwindles. In Kenya Christian Community Services of Mount Kenya East (CCSMKE) are currently piloting a livestock marketing project to encourage communities to reduce the size of their herds. The dwindling pasture and land cannot support the current number of animals. CCSMKE helps people to transport their animals to market. The money they get for their animals can be spent on things such as food and school fees.
Tearfund has launched an East Africa food crisis appeal. This will allow church partners to scale up their response to this crisis. Supporting food-for-work schemes means not only do people receive food but also projects that improve the local land can be undertaken. In Ethiopia many areas have been badly affected by erosion: The Wolaitta Kale Heywet Church is using the labour to collect rocks to build terraces which will retain any rainfall and to plant cassia trees which will prevent further erosion. In return for 20 hours work a week people are paid 15kg of grain a month. By limiting the hours they work people still have time to tend their own land.
Tearfund is also hoping to work with churches in Ethiopia to help communicate essential preventative information to their communities, such as how to recognise early symptoms of malnutrition, and the location of the nearest health centre.
Partners are also offering vital prayer and pastoral support to families who are struggling to survive.
Join with our partners and those they are reaching out to with the following prayers:
- Please continue to pray for rain, that sufficient rain will fall at the right time
- Pray for strength and perseverance for our partner staff, who are working hard.
- Pray too that food will safely reach those in desperate need in Somalia, despite the conflict.
Do we only give God thanks for the amazing bounty we receive at Harvest Festival? – Do most of us even realise that we have so much to be thankful for – as I throw mouldy bread out for the birds I will hold in my mind the image of a well dressed man in Zimbabwe who risked the danger of fast moving traffic to catch an empty bag discarded by a driver containing a few pie crumbs…
As the Zimbabwean diarist writes on www.tearfund.org ‘God says you must not deny anyone anything which is within your power to do; treat others as you would want them to treat you; love your neighbour as you love yourself etc......just imagine what implications all these scriptures have for us Christians in this country?’
For more information contact Mandy McIntosh 01530 415468 or Tearfund enquiries 0845 355 8355. To find out more about the many good things that fellow Christians are being enabled to do by your support in Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and other parts of the world see www.tearfund.org