"Only Food Relief Helped Us Survive!"

"Only Food Relief Helped Us Survive!"

Tanzania Famine Update

By: Erasto Malila, Compassion Tanzania Communications Specialist   |   Posted: July 20, 2004

Mohamed Habibu (far right) and his family gather outside their home in Arusha. He attends Monduli primary school where his best subjects are English and mathematics.

Tanzania experienced a drought in 2003 and 2004 that threatened nearly 2 million people and more than 18,000 Compassion-assisted children and their families. Recently, praise the Lord, rains have fallen. But the damage from the drought has already been done.

Food prices in some areas have doubled and already scarce work opportunities have declined. Many of the families of Compassion children have been pushed to the brink of starvation.

Basic Assistance

Mohamed Habibu is a 12-year-old boy registered at FPCT Monduli Student Center in Arusha. He is one of seven children in a family that is among the poorest in the Monduli hill country, home to about 145,000 peasants. Most are unemployed but some are subsistence farmers who earn the equivalent of U.S.$5 per month.

Mohamed's mom is separated from her husband and works as a hair braider to support her family. Reflecting on the severe famine, she said, "Only food relief has helped us survive."

Before receiving assistance, the Habibus subsisted on one meal a day. The children were weak because of malnutrition. "Sometimes Mohamed only had water to survive on," his mother said. "Getting food was a big challenge. I cried very often while trying to think of ways to stay alive."

When life was looking desperate, a ray of new hope was restored by Compassion Tanzania. "I was not expecting to receive such kindness," Mrs. Habibu said. "We now have assurance of getting food two or three times a day and my children are active and in good health."

Mrs. Habibu was a Muslim but she recently became a Christian after seeing the love of God through Compassion and noting the changes in Mohamed's life. He insists on reading the Bible and praying before eating. Now the entire family worships at Monduli Lutheran Church in Arusha.

"I thank God for bringing Compassion's ministry to people like us who didn't have the means of getting money for food," Mrs. Habibu said.

Another Perspective

Here's an example of what the famine relief effort looks like from the donor side. Truly, it is more blessed to give than receive. The following story comes from a high-school-age sponsor in Sioux Center, Iowa.

"After receiving your letter regarding Tanzania, I took a large jar to my public high school with a sign taped on it requesting donations for relief. I collected nearly $150 in one day.

"I sponsor a child in Tanzania and my heart just broke when I realized how terrible the circumstances are there. I don't have a job so my funds are tight and with a sponsorship, I just didn't see how I could contribute.

"But God moved in the hearts of my pals. Some of the donations came from kids I'd least expect to give. I was really touched by the generosity. I will be sending a check tomorrow. God bless you all."
 Bethany Landegent

Please consider making a contribution to the Disaster Relief Fund. Your gift will help other famine-affected areas where Compassion ministers.  

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