Selloane, 5, is too young to have heard the word 'drought.'
Yet every day, she and her 3-year-old sister, Tsepiso, experience the consequences of Lesotho's worst drought in 30 years. "Sometimes I'm hungry and there's no food at home," says the matter-of-fact 5-year-old.
The girls' distraught mother, Matinki, expresses concern of her own: "Without employment, especially during drought times like now, it is not easy to provide proper, balanced food for my children. Lately, I only have corn to give them."
Severe drought across Southern Africa this year is hitting the tiny nation of Lesotho particularly hard. Already struggling with declining soil quality and progressively shorter periods to recover between droughts, Lesotho also has a shrinking labor force because many adults are dying of AIDS and leaving orphaned children behind.
Half a million people are directly affected by the current drought in Lesotho, says World Vision's commodities officer, Jonathan Moyo. "If the relief work of groups like World Vision stopped, [the people] would face critical hunger. But we will need to increase our response in the coming weeks, as even those who harvested something will run out of food by September."
In addition, because of crop failures in neighboring South Africa, imported grains and vegetables have become more expensive, squeezing the budgets of low-income families like Matinki's. "When I don't have any money to buy vegetables or beans, we eat plain maize meal, like today," she says.
Cooked maize — similar to corn, and referred to as papa in Sesotho, the local language — is usually served with vegetables and protein, such as beans, eggs, or meat. Yet because of current conditions in the country, the 27-year-old mother explains: "We only eat beans or eggs about once a month."
Since the family's maize from their June labor is gone, Matinki now depends upon income from other odd jobs she and her mother can find; this includes washing neighbors' clothes. "For washing one load of clothes, I am paid $3; I use that to buy vegetables," she says. "I can buy a cabbage that lasts two days for $1. I cannot afford to buy meat because it is very expensive — a kilogram is $4.50."
>> Pray for those affected by the severe drought in Southern Africa, and for aid groups, including World Vision, who are responding to their needs.
>> Donate now to provide food for hungry children and families affected by the severe drought in Southern Africa. When combined with government grants, your gift will triple in impact to provide nutritious food to those who are suffering and need it the most.
>> Sponsor a child in Lesotho. World Vision sponsorship provides additional assistance to children during times of crisis; the program also helps children and their communities rebuild their lives after disasters, like Southern Africa's severe drought.
>> Become a Child Crisis Partner. Be an advocate for a child suffering from hunger.
|Read another article about the water shortages in Southern Africa and how World Vision is responding.|
Four Ways You Can Help
|Pray for those affected by the severe drought in Southern Africa, and for aid groups, including World Vision, who are responding to their needs.|
Donate now to provide food for hungry children and families affected by the severe drought in Southern Africa. When combined with government grants, your gift will triple in impact to provide nutritious food to those who are suffering and need it the most.