One of my fellow Activistas Saiba T. Suso has gone to the villages to understand what the food crisis means there. Since internet is far from widely available there, I am helping him get his story out. Read his powerful story here:
When the Gambian government declared 70% of crop failure, Activistas were made to understand that there is a food crisis in the Gambia. As an Activista volunteer I took up the challenge to go out to the countryside and talk to some farmers and have firsthand information on the crisis in Lower River Region LRR. Many families living in the countryside are directly affected by the food crisis as many of them are poor farmers and the poor rain fall leaves them with nothing, but wonderingwith a tug in their mind “what will we eat? And what will we grow next season” as there are no grains left in their stores.
Never do I rely on food support from others, but this season things are turned upside down.
I asked a farmer how terrible is he affected by this poor rainfall. Lamin Bayo, a farmer in Darsilameh village in the lower river region of the Gambia told me,” I used to have a lot of millet and rice at the end of the season. I keep some for my family and sell some to pay for the education and medical bills of my family. Never do I rely on food support from others, but this season things are turned upside down. The price of a bag of rice has increased from seven hundred and fifty dalasi (D750.00) to one thousand dalasi (1000.00) as of now, and we are expecting an increase in this price. How many of us poor farmer famers can afford a bag of rice in this life we are living in this village? We now rely on some family members in the inner-city, but the support we are receiving from them is now decreasing as a result of an increase in their daily expenses too”
I look around the village and I see only a few youths so I ask the farmer: “where are the youths of this village?”
An increasing number of our youths are force to voyage to the inner-city areas in other to support us, but we still ask ourselves ‘are they really going to make it?’ because we the villagers are the main suppliers of food crops to the town and cities. Now that we cannot supply them due to poor rainfall which led to poor harvest, how is life going to be there too?”
After that reply I ask: “who do you think can help you out of this situation?”
“We call on the Government and other agencies to come to our aid because we are really hungry and we cannot get ourselves out of this situation without their timely intervention. Also we need to prepare ourselves for the next season, which is only possible if we receive the help we are looking for (e.g. fertilizers, seeds, irrigation and some food to feed ourselves on before next season). Otherwise only God can determine our faith.”
Leaving the village I nearly cried because I can feel the pain of misery that the farmers are facing at the moment in the countryside.
The sleepless nights, hunger which can lead to malnutrition and in some cases death. This inspires me to take a personal step and fully participate in the one dalasi (D1) campaign.
I will go out with my fellow Activistas together with other youth groups in the Gambian Schools to collect one dalasi from each student to support the Gambian who are hit by the crisis. We will also take it to the street and make noise to send the message of the crisis to the public.