Alcohol farm

My kids can’t sleep hungry, not when I’ve got booze

With no money, no food, and with starving children but alcohol at her disposal, Hascar made the difficult decision: she gave her children alcohol instead of watching them sleep on an empty stomach. [iStockphoto]

The last time people experienced seasonal rainfall in Ileret in North Horr sub-county in northern Kenya was three years ago.

The situation has generated severe drought, famine, death of livestock and with it, hunger and malnutrition.

To make matters worse, the water in nearby Lake Turkana is too salty, unfit for human consumption, but locals drink it anyway. The Daasanach-speaking community in this region is 450 km from the city of Marsabit. They do not have access to health facilities. There is only one school.

A manyatta has about eight children who spend the whole day eating nothing, drinking nothing. Ironically, Ileret is 16 km from Ethiopia where agriculture and other agricultural activities are flourishing. Health facilities are also found in Ethiopia.

Most of the farms in North Horr have lost their livestock due to the persistent drought. They do not have access to milk and meat. With the current weather changes, North Horr is not expecting rain anytime soon. January to March is always a dry season. Locals hope for rain around September even though they waited in vain last September.

A report by Oxfam International puts the number of drought-affected people in Kenya at 3.1 million with 23 counties at risk of famine: Baringo, Isiolo, Mandera, Marsabit, Samburu, Turkana, Wajir, Kilifi, Lamu, West Pokot, Laikipia and Garissa are experiencing alarming stages of drought. Hascar*, a mother of eight, was exhausted from borrowing food from her neighbors. It brews alcohol made from yeast, sugar and water. This is his main source of income. But with tough economic times, customers are hard to come by.

With no money, no food, and with starving children but alcohol at her disposal, Hascar made the difficult decision: she gave her children alcohol instead of watching them sleep on an empty stomach.

“This alcohol (Kada) is the backbone of our economy here,” says Hascar. “If we sell it, we get food, otherwise that’s what we have. Then we wait for the next day hoping things will be better.

Hascar says Kada, served in cans of cooking oil, helps her children sleep at night. So do the children of his neighbors. The youngest are under two years old. One is nine months old, but the brew is all there is. Although bitter, you will think that even the youngest drink water or a soft drink. They barely squeak.

“I know alcohol will make them drunk and when they get drunk they can sleep or else they will cry from hunger all night long,” Hascar says, adding that she knows it is dangerous to give alcohol to children. children, “but what else should I give them, I have nothing?”

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