The last time 66-year-old Guyo Galgallo, pictured right, remembers it raining in his northern Kenyan village was four months ago.
But it wasn’t a case of refreshing April showers: ‘We had drizzle,’ recalls Guyo, who lives in a community called Halkano Gora, which like many others in the region is facing one of the worst droughts in living memory.
Poor rains have led to failed harvests and significant livestock losses which in turn have left 3.2 million Kenyans on the brink of starvation.
Guyo and his seven strong family survive on one meal of maize a day but things are bleak.
Guyo said, ‘The drought now is much worse than other times. We lack pasture and water. Our water sources are drying up, we have no animals to sell and food prices have shot up.’
His family are clinging on by making and selling charcoal but the rocketing price of staple foods, a factor hitting poor communities across the world, is worsening their plight, not just in terms of diet.
‘Soaring food prices mean we cannot buy as much,’ says Guyo. ‘Students are unable to attend school because they can’t pay school fees.’
Generous support for Tearfund’s East Africa appeal means our partners in Kenya, as well as Somalia and Ethiopia, are able to expand the help they offer people like Guyo.
Tearfund partner Christian Community Services of Mount Kenya East (CCSMKE) is helping his community by sending tankers filled with water to the area so people and their livestock can be sustained while the wait for rain continues.
While appreciating the help Tearfund is providing, Guyo is determined to return to standing on his own two feet.
‘I’m praying the rains will return so I’ll be able to farm again and produce sufficient food once more,’ he says. ‘Then I will be able to continue educating my children.’
Education is something that has clearly benefited 18-year-old Lokho Gollo from the village of Qilta. Literate and bright, she has ambitions of becoming a lawyer but needs to keep studying at secondary school.
The impact of the drought has disrupted that because her parents are struggling to get by. The family has just one meal a day.
‘This time is much worse than other times,’ says Lokho. ‘We have lost livestock and our farms are not producing anything. We have very little food and water. I try to get whatever small work I can get so I can help my parents.
‘I’m praying that I might finish secondary school well and that there might be jobs for people in my community.’