Each time we go back to Somalia, I can’t wait to see the unexpected. With each trip comes a new adventure, a unique experience and better understanding of the incredible and brave humans living there. This trip was no different.
A few months ago we made plans with an amazing organization called World Food Programme (WFP) to deliver food to 50,000 people in a rural part of Somalia. Currently, 3.1
million people are in need of life-saving food assistance and humanitarian help is not only helpful, it’s essential. We helped WFP load up 120 bags of rice and large boxes of oil canisters and we flew to Dolow, a rural town in Southeastern Somalia.
As we flew in we could see the Jubba river winding slowly between Somalia and Ethiopia, a stark contrast against the dark, red dirt that covered the land. We landed at an airstrip with the WFP team and we helped unload the lifesaving food. It was a humbling experience helping carry the rice and oil, knowing what it would mean to the people who would receive it.
After having been welcomed by the joyful Somali people with traditional dancing and greetings, I had a chance to sit down with a lady named Safia who lived in a IDP (Internally Displaced Person) camp called Kabasa, home to 30,000 others. This is always my favorite time - getting to hear individual stories of such bravery and strength. Safia was wearing a brown scarf that covered her head and a red checkered skirt. We sat on the ground with an interpreter and soon a small crowd of kids formed a curious little ring, interested to hear her story and find out what we were doing. Safia had only been here about six months. Along with her husband and six kids, she walked 150 miles on foot to Dolow in order to find food. She gestured to show me how she had one baby strapped to her back, one to her front, and then held the hands of two more. Her husband carried two of them and together, they all walked for almost two weeks to reach Dolow. Until the current situation Safia and her family had their own farm and they could grow all their own food to survive. They had cows and could grow vegetables along with other staples. When the drought came, it all dried up and the cattle died, and they were forced to leave everything they knew.
Now, Safia walks each day to the river to collect water, then comes back, builds a fire, and cooks beans. That’s a staple for her family, although she smiles and says there are lots of other dishes she likes to cook if she has the ingredients. I hope someday Safia can return to her farm and grow her own food again, but for now, I’m so grateful that there are brave and hardworking people coming alongside her to help during this time.
In 2016 WFP fed 1.8 million people. This year, we got to be part of that number, partnering financially to feed another 50,000. Because generous friends like you, steps are being made to eliminate hunger all over the world for people like Safia and her family.
We talk about action at Love Does a lot. How in order to properly love someone you must back it up with movement. Because of this incredible experience in Somalia with World Food Programe I am able to tangibly see that sometimes words aren’t enough. It takes action. We need to stand alongside our friends and share in the journey, offering help where we can.
WFP and Love Does rely on friends to help keep fighting hunger. If you’d like to get involved or just find out more, check out www.lovedoes.org/foodforsomalia