The African Drought Hits Tenderfeet

Please note: we have set up a Drought Relief Fund to aid those families who are being hit hard by the drought.  Please click here to contribute and make sure ‘Drought Relief Fund’  is selected.

If you follow international news, it’s hard to miss the numerous stories about the severe drought that has hit East Africa.

The Tenderfeet feeding program is more important now than ever

The Tenderfeet feeding program is more important now than ever. Meals like this may be the only ones the children eat in a given day.

In Kenya, as we know from an April 2011 article, access to water is already exceedingly difficult.

In recent months, the difficulty has only increased and the effects of the water shortages are being felt everywhere.

This is definitely true at Tenderfeet, where students are going hungry at home, and their families are suffering more than ever.

To explain why, it’s worth reminding ourselves that Kenya depends heavily on agriculture for a healthy economy.

This is a major reason the continuing lack of rain has contributed to the financial challenges the country is now experiencing.

Meanwhile, the high cost of fuel (now over $5 USD per gallon) and weakness of the Kenyan shilling have combined with the drought to raise the prices of food and other family needs.

For instance, maize flour is a key foundation of the Kenyan diet.  It is used to make ugali, which is eaten in virtually every Tenderfeet student’s home on an almost daily basis.

Whereas a 1 kilogram packet of maize flour could be purchased a few years ago for around 25 Kenyan shillings, now a packet costs as much as 80 shillings.

The price has doubled in just the past several months.

Keep in mind, the typical Tenderfeet student relies on a guardian who must find work such as washing clothes or selling vegetables.

Maize Flour like this is the basis of most Kenyan meals. The cost of many staples has doubled in recent months

These kinds of businesses earn at most 100-300 shillings ($1-$3) per day. This type of work is not a reliable source of income, so often there will be days where there will be little or no money brought home.  In fact, the average Tenderfeet family makes between $30 and $60 per month.

Considering that a 1 kg packet now costs as much as a day’s earnings and can only make enough ugali for two or three meals , it’s easy to understand how the price of basic staples is impacting the Tenderfeet families.  Especially since the cost of everything else is going up as well.

These families must also pay rent, medical costs, transportation, and, of course, water.  It’s impossible to afford everything a family needs, which is why most are regularly in danger of being evicted from their homes.

You can see how Tenderfeet donors are making such a positive difference in the children’s lives.

Tenderfeet is blessed to have a water well to supplement the water needed by the school

Tenderfeet is blessed to have a water well to supplement the water needed by the school

Another aspect of the drought is that in Kenya dams are used as one of the important ways for generating electricity.

The extended drought has lowered the water levels to the extent that power supplies are greatly affected.

Now electricity rationing will be instituted, meaning homes that have electricity will lose power for as much as 4 hours every evening.

This will affect families in countless ways, including home safety and students’ ability to study in the evening.

Some Tenderfeet homes do have electricity, though it is of the black market variety (which is going to be rationed as well since it is siphoned from the actual power suppliers).

In these cases, it’s usually just enough electricity for a single lightbulb and a radio.

Even households that don’t have electricity will be affected, because they often depend on neighbors who do.

It will make things harder at Tenderfeet, especially in the area of security at night.

Please keep in your prayers the overwhelming challenges being faced by Tenderfeet students and their families.   If you are able, please also consider donating to our drought fund here.

As mentioned above, we are comforted that Tenderfeet can be a place of hope and aid to these families and we are deeply grateful to all the Tenderfeet sponsors for making it possible.

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