ActionAid is a global movement of people working together to further human rights and defeat poverty for all.

‘I skip meals to let my children eat’

Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 16:46

I moved to Burat in Isiolo in 2011 after a drought killed most of my livestock. I was left with three goats. I moved here due to its closeness to water and the hope of rebuilding my life.

In order to support my mother and my three children, I found a casual job at my neighbours’ house. I supplement my small income by selling water that I fetch from water point to the nearest village that is three kilometres away. One 20-litre container is trading at shillings 20 (US$0.2) to 40 (US$0.4) depending on where you fetch it. It is very little money and not enough to buy a meal in a day.

When I moved here, I had high hopes of recovering from the loss, but I feel like giving up because things are not getting any better. The current drought is worse than what I have experienced in the past.

I do not have food in my house and unless I fetch more water for other people, I cannot feed my family.

When we do not have enough food for all us, I sacrifice my meal for my mother and my children.

The problem with fetching water from the waterholes right now is the increase of wildlife in the area. We have always had elephants and many others in the area but since the river has dried up, they come to the waterhole and share it with people.

Since water has become scarce everywhere, elephants are changing their drinking habits and come to the waterholes any time of the day instead of evenings.

As a woman, I worry about these attacks by the elephants or other animals that we share the water with. A young man was recently killed by elephants when they chased him from the water point.

When elephants charge at us, all we can do is run for safety and go home without water. Without water, you can’t prepare meals and go to bed hungry.

At times elephants would stay at the water point for hours forcing us to go to other wells that are 8 kilometres away. It is very hard to walk up the hill.

We hope that help will come our way out soon before we lose more lives.

Apart from responding with food aid, ActionAid Kenya is facilitating women’s leadership training in disaster response in order to build a sense of self confidence and empower women to hold the government and other stakeholders accountable to communities when delivering services.