I couldn’t wait to get on the Mercy Train last week.
What more could someone want than to be able to help put a meal on someone’s table; put a smile on someone’s face, even though the only bond between you and them is that both of you are human.
Do you know how it feels to be hungry… how desperate it makes not to feel hungry ever again; What determination does it take not to suffer such a loss of dignity?
I never quite looked at it that way. But a woman who had come to collect food donations from the train station at Mackinnon road on Saturday made utterances that would not leave my mind.
The images were embedded even more as crowds gathered thanking us profusely for the help, pleading with us to bring more; asking us to petition their respective Members of Parliament to help them and distribute the food evenly.
This particular woman was adamant that she and her children were more deserving to receive the food donations than the older woman standing nearby who lived by herself.
She repeated it loudly a few times and everyone who had been narrating how they eat wild fruit or the flesh of cactus fell silent.
It was like what this woman said was wrong but no one could judge her because they we’re not sure they wouldn’t do the same thing if they were in her shoes. Even the older woman was silent… Perhaps thinking of the traditions of her ancestors, where this statement rang true.
If she lived on the land several decades ago and there was drought or famine, she would leave the food for the children and walk into the forest to feed herself to the hyenas.
I shuddered to think that there could be any justification whatsoever of the "worthlessness" of a life. How on earth do you justify something like that?
After an unnerving silence, another older woman said "if there’s only half packets of flour, everyone should get a quarter…"
Hunger is, I think, a degrading experience. To ask someone for food because even if you work hard you have none is even more frustrating.
I wondered how bitter our hungry brothers and sisters feel. Residents of Kiu, in Kilome constituency, said all they needed was water to irrigate their farms. Others had no ideas at all, and with complete hopelessness wondered why they haven’t heard from their MPs.
Others blamed President Kibaki and PM Odinga for not caring. It’s been three years without rain for them, how surely can you help?