Hunger in Kenya robbed Peter and Samson of their parents in March. Peter, the family’s rock, is afraid now, while Samson is angry but tries to be strong.
All they have left is prayer and each other. Lift them up in prayer today and read their story.
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So much thought and prayer goes into a name.
After months of loving battle, my husband and I settled on the name Nicholas for our son. Nicholas means “victory” and pairs beautifully with his middle name, Howard, to honor my dad. For our daughter, we chose Claire Musette, both of which are family names. Claire means “clear and bright” and Musette speaks to our love of music.
My curiosity piqued when I met Peter and Samson in Lokichoggio, in northwest Kenya. Such powerful names: Peter, the “rock” on which Christ built his church, and Samson, a man of tremendous strength, able to tear a lion apart with his bare hands.
“What strong names for two little boys,” I thought. I wanted to ask why they were named thus. But their mother, Nadiko, lay in a shallow grave right outside the small stick hut where the boys told me their story.
Such a sad story.
Peter, 12, the family’s rock, lived with his mother and went to school, hoping to provide for his family one day. Samson, 10, their little strong man, herded cattle with his father near South Sudan, learning to be a pastoralist. One day, raiders killed the boys’ father, stealing the family’s animals — all their worldly possessions. Bereft, Samson moved back home to Lokichoggio with his brother, Peter, and mother, Nadiko.
Nadiko died of hunger in March.
I took a neighbor aside to quietly inquire about Nadiko. She was a good mother, says the neighbor, hardworking and loving. But hunger and a broken heart killed her. “She came here with nothing,” she says. “She got sick. She became thin. She would sob and cry. And then she died.”
The boys are alone now. They live in a small community, but it’s up to them to take care of themselves.
“We are always together,” says Samson. “We eat together. We play together. We go to school together. He’s a good man.”
“He’s a good friend,” says Peter of his younger brother.
The East Africa drought that is responsible for millions in misery — the drought that killed their mother and intensified the conflict that cost their father his life — has left the boys angry and afraid.
“The drought has finished all the animals,” says Samson, his brown eyes darkening. “Now it’s killing people.”
I ask Samson if he prays, and his answer surprises me. “When I get angry is when I pray,” he says. “I get angry when I spend all day without eating.”
Samson is the family’s strength now. He catches squirrel for the two boys to eat, using an ingenious trap his father taught him to make.
Peter, the rock, collects stones to place at his mother’s grave. They are stones of remembrance to ensure Nadiko is never forgotten.
Video: The boys put stones on their mother’s grave, a Turkana tradition. “It makes it sacred,” says Peter. When they see a special stone, they bring it to the grave and lay it atop the other stones. “The drought has finished all the animals. Now its killing people,” says Samson.
I see fear, not anger, in Peter’s soft brown eyes as he tells me he prays for survival. “I pray to God to give me life and the energy to continue in school,” he says.
Peter, who admires his teacher, would like to become an educator someday, a profession that would allow him to care for his brother. He has encouraged Samson to start school. Lunch is served there every day, which helps with hunger, at least during the week.
Samson says he loves learning Swahili, an everyday language in East Africa. My heart aches when he tells us the first words he was taught: mama na baba, mother and father.
Of all the names he could have learned — the names of the two people who should be protecting their sons, their lives robbed by the East Africa drought and its consequences.
Please pray daily for Peter, Samson, and the 25 million people on the verge of starvation in East Africa. This immense number becomes smaller and more real the moment you know their names.
Join us in supporting children like Peter and Samson as we work to provide life-saving food to those who are hungry across Africa. Donate to our Africa hunger crisis fund today. Through grants, your donation will multiply seven times in impact.
You can also sponsor a child in Kenya and help build lasting resilience for children and their families and communities.
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