TURKANA PEOPLE DYING OF HUNGER – MAY WE TOGETHER DO SOMETHING?
In 1999/2000 I went to Turkana, for the first time ever, on a mission to do a documentary filming of the worst ever drought in the region that threatened to wipe out both man and beast from the Turkana desert plains.
They were then fairly strangers to me. Eight years down the line, they are close confidants, brothers and sisters still eking out a living in the same harsh conditions, but many now followers of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
There is a repeat of the threatening circumstances of 1999 not only in Lodwar, but covering virtually the whole of Kenya. For the Turkana, being in desert conditions, their situation is even more pronounced as it is an extreme multiplication of what others are going through. The situation is worsened by the fact that being so far and isolated from the rest of Kenya, those in the comfort zones will cry loudest from the adversity they are not used to, leaving the Turkana to die silently and unaccounted for in the desert. In effect, the relief food normally given out to the Turkana may now not be as forthcoming as the whole country is encompassed in the threat of a dire famine, which has already resulted in several casualties, chief among them children.
Connie, I know many churches are fully engaged in normal meetings and conferences and workshops to work out new liturgies, new evangelism approaches and even fund-raising strategies. I feel Christians cannot be so far away from their calling if they can concentrate on these kind of callings when the suffering laity is dying unattended out there.
I was funded by a German democratic foundation in 2000 to do a documentary on the adverse drought in Turkana for their own German consumption. I feel there is a necessity to urgently do something like that again to bring out the stark reality of what is happening. ALready, as I saw and recorded in 1999, the worst scenarios are appearing of very emaciated women virtually crawling to the main roads to die there, if nobody comes in with the life-giving product, food.
I may not be able to go back to Lodwar or Marsabit if these people die and we could have done something about it. I do not know how far and how much we can do, but we can feed one person and save him from starving to death. By so doing, somebody else will follow in our example and whole villages may be saved from this menacing evil of unnecessary death.
To me and you, to Joy Griffin and the ILI fraternity that has made inroads to these lovely Turkana people, to Steve Taylor, Culpepper, with whom we crisscrossed the desert, to eminent persons like Bill Johnson we have brothers and sisters in the Turkana desert on the verge of perishing, yet we have the means. Could we have done something about it?
I am seeking your help to carry out that documentation of the situation on the ground in both Turkana and Marsabit with a view to pointing to properly thought-out interventions. I believe our Christianity is on the test and the Lord who has empowered us to act on His behalf is watching from His throne. Who will act for Him when it matters most?
Yes, we can argue like the international community that Kenya does not deserve this help because of corruption in government. Will God take that justification in the face of the many threatened by painful death through starvation? I believe not and am blowing this trumpet so that we can act now and ask the ethical questions later.
I wish I could write more, but I feel even the seconds that I am writing this are valuable, maybe there is a life that could be saved by acting faster than I am typing this.
Forgive me, Connie for the tone of my short note. I hope you will read the humane urgency that I want to impart for that is my only motive for sounding this desperate plea.
May God bless you and all who respond.
Laban G. Gitau