Dear Friends, Supporters, Readers, and Encouragers:
I hope you’re doing well.
I’m writing to you from Kenya. Yes, you read that correctly. Kenya as in Kenya, Africa.
I just recently arrived and depending on circumstances, may also visit Somalia and South Sudan. Over the next week or so, I’m privileged to be a guest of World Concern (one of our main partners). We’re also joined by a representative from ONE. Together, we’ll have the opportunity to personally assess the progress and the arduous work ahead. Just this week, I read reports that the current situation in Somalia – while it improved last year – may be entering into another dire situation.
In 2011, the Horn of Africa experienced the worst drought in its region in 60 years. This drought in combination with rising food prices, extreme insecurity, and violence led to famine conditions that affected over 13 million people in the Horn of Africa. The Horn of Africa is the “horn” shaped portion of northeastern Africa that includes the countries of Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti.
In fact, the UN declared famine in six regions in Somalia. Tragically, hundreds of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes in search of food, water, and safety. Many of them walked for weeks, trying to reach refugee camps in Kenya. And sadly, many died along the way, including more than 30,000 children.
When tragedy strikes – whether it be in Aurora, Colorado or through a famine or drought in the Horn of Africa (and another current one in the Sahel region of Africa)…we are reminded of our finitude.
We can’t do everything…
As much as we want, we can’t fix everything.
We can’t change everything. We can’t make everything better but…
We can’t do nothing. We have do something.
We have to act.
This is part of why we started One Day’s Wages in 2009 – to enable and empower ‘the everyday person’ to do something. We can pray. We can raise awareness. We can contact our legislators and civic leaders. We can educate ourselves.
We can also gather resources to partner with organizations that are vetted, respected, and have a strategic plan for both short term relief and long term solutions – not just in response to crises but the ongoing fight to eradicate extreme poverty. It’s for these reasons that we partnered with World Concern, Adeso, and Concern Worldwide. In addition, we’ve been trying to plant 200,000 trees in Ethiopia with Eden Reforestation.
And you responded.
In fact, many responded and acted. From around the world. Many gave a few dollars. Some their one day’s wages. Numerous gave up their birthdays for the Horn of Africa Fund. Couple churches partnered with us. Several companies partnered with us. There were benefits and parties. Some cycled. Some ran. And umm, some cut their hair.
One of the more amazing stories was a woman named Anji who decided to shave her head…and raised over $18,000!
In total (thus far), we’ve raised $171,347.87. Amazing.
How have these funds been used?
Food, water, and food vouchers. Providing essential resources like cooking pots, blankets, spoons, sleeping mats, and mosquito nets for those that have left their homes with practically nothing; Rainwater catchment systems (see picture below), latrines, and training. And the list goes on.
Thank you for doing your part. When a crisis impact over 13 million people, it doesn’t just require a village, it requires the entire world.
We covet your thoughts and prayers.
In fact, we’ve had to change our itinerary recently as two churches were recently bombed and attacked nearby the Dadaab refugee camp we were intended to visit. These attacks killed 15 people and wounded 40. In addition, 4 relief workers were recently kidnapped. Thankfully, all have since been freed.
In short, safety is the most important priority so we’ll have to altogether avoid some places in our initial itinerary.
I’m humbled and grateful for your support and prayers. I want you to know that I’m not here to be a part of “Humanitarian Tourism.” ODW is committed to the fight against extreme poverty for the long haul. Thus far, we’ve raised over $1.25 million dollars and 100% (minus credit card fees) are invested in projects around the world.
I’m humbled by your support, trust, and partnership. You’re still welcome to give the Horn of Africa Relief Fund because the need is still real and I also hope that you’ll consider donating your upcoming birthday to support the ODW project of your choosing.
Here, there, or everywhere, may we all be convicted to love God and love our neighbors. Amen.
* Long term solution – ‘water catchment’ – implemented by World Concern through the support of ODW.
* These Somali refugees are lined up to be registered at the world’s largest refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya — “home” to more than 400,000 people.
* This Somali refugee walked with her family for one month to escape the famine.
All photos courtesy of World Concern.