In a refugee camp in northern Kenya, someone is teaching people how to wash their hands properly. The demonstrator lathers the soap, pours water, and rubs her hands together in a circular motion. She works slowly and systematically, making sure her nails are clean too. A crowd of children gathers, watching. Their “teacher” is three years old.
Posts Tagged ‘Somalia’
By Neal Deles
CRS closed its office in Somalia in 1993 but continued to work there through our partners. It has been years since CRS sent an international staff back. I went to Mogadishu to meet our partners and see first-hand the work they do in the makeshift camps for those displaced by famine and conflict.
International aid workers here are mindful of heightened security concerns. We can only visit the camps for one hour and refrain from being out in the afternoon as that is when most of the violence happens. It was a long day visiting one of the many camps in Mogadishu and meeting partners and the people we serve.
CRS is working through local partners in Somalia as it begins to recover from a devastating drought. Here is a post from a member of one of them. For security reasons, we cannot identify the blogger or the partner. The first post is here.
“Why are they shooting?” I screech and dive to the floor. The other men are laughing; this is my first trip to Mogadishu.
“Oh my brother!” the driver shouts over the machine gun clatter, “There is a traffic jam. This way is more effective than a horn.”
CRS is working through local partners in Somalia as it begins to recover from a devastating drought. Here is a post from a member of one of them. For security reasons, we cannot identify the blogger or the partner.
Somalias are infinite.
There is the Somalia of Adel, who owns twenty camels with tasseled saddles; he rides across the sand with his cousins and brothers and a cluster of long-horned cattle, rising up and down and up like a fleet of tiny ships.
There is the Somalia of Wa’ail, who slipped away from the village in the cool of early morning and walked two weeks to find a school. Now he can read. “I would write home and tell them,” he says. “But there is no one to answer.”
Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas, chairman of the Board of Catholic Relief Services, have asked their brother bishops to encourage pastors and parishioners to support emergency relief efforts in the Horn of Africa, possibly by taking up a second collection.
More than 12 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia because of what many are calling the worst drought in decades. This severe lack of rainfall has resulted in failed crops, deaths of livestock and critical shortages in food and water.
“Every day we are seeing more and more heartbreaking news about the drought and famine in Somalia and the eastern parts of Africa. We see millions of people being forced from their homes, leaving behind what meager possessions they had, and walking for days over rough terrain,” wrote Archbishop Dolan and Bishop Kicanas.
“Aden, my oldest son, was four years old. He was watching our goats,” says Ahada, a Somali woman in her early twenties. “Men with guns came and wanted the animals. Aden shouted, ‘Don’t take our goats!’”
Ahada’s small son was caught in the midst of a chaotic, seemingly never-ending war in Somalia. Armed bandits, militias and other violent groups terrorize the country’s rural population, who are mostly nomadic herdsmen. Children are not spared. Aden wasn’t.
Aden’s death by shooting came in the midst of a drought that was leading to famine. Ahada’s husband was also killed by militants; she knew she had to flee. She’d heard of a country called Kenya, so she took her two children there, crossing the border.