The other day I walked into a shop to pick up a few groceries. There was a boy of about eight years old standing outside begging for food. His clothes were filthy, he was covered in dust and his shoes were held together by elastic and tape.
I know he wasn’t my child. I know I can’t help every child in the world, but I know that as I walked around that supermarket picking up crisps, vegetables, aÂ bar of chocolate, milk and a few staples, I couldn’t get the image of hopelessness etched on his face out of my head.
I walked past the bakery and picked up a few bread rolls, past the deli and picked up a couple of Viennas and on my way out the shop gave it to him in a plastic bag.Â He said thank you, and as I got in the car, I saw him glance inside and a smile spread across his face. He stepped towards the car to say thank you again. We nodded and smiled a little pitifully, and drove off.Â He crossed the road to wave at us, still smiling. I fought back tears. I couldn’t cope with the gratitude for a couple of rolls and two sausages.
And that was one child. But in the â€˜Horn of Africa’, in Somalia, children are starving. Babies, infants, like the ones we know and the ones we love. Fathers are burying their children, their babies. After walking for weeks to find help for their families, they’re having to bury them, as they starve to death.
I know we’ve all seen the pictures, and I know we suffer a bit of disaster fatigue, and I know in the face of so much pain it’s simply easier to think of something else. But really, if each reader of this blog gave Â£1, there’d be Â£1000’s raised (or Dollars or Rands) towards helping save someone else’s baby’s life. My friend Tamsin Oxford is participating in a 40 Hour Famine event, where she won’t be eating anything for 40 hours in an attempt to raise Â£1000 for these children (through UNICEF).
And if you can’t give Â£1 even, then please pass this message on to someone else who you think might.
P.S. Why’m I not doing the 40 Hour Famine myself? I’m 14 weeks pregnant right now, and suffer from Hyperemesis Gravidarum, so not eating whatever I can whenever I can isn’t a great idea for me or my baby.
P.P.SÂ Your gift will go directly to UNICEF’s East Africa Children’s Crisis Appealâ€š for the children affected by the crisis. Should the money raised exceed the funding requirement for this appealâ€š your gift will go to their Children’s Emergency Fund. We don’t know where the next emergency will strike. Heaven forbid the next child that needs it be yours or mine.