In 2011, a famine occurred in the area of the African Horn that includes the countries of Ethiopia, Somalia, and Djibouti. After two dry seasons where rain was scarce, where wells went dry, where plants withered away and where animals died, the people left their villages and travelled to the nearest cities. They left and followed the desert’s mirage as they sought a few water drops or a little food. On their quest for survival, many have perished. One of them said: We walked for close to 350 kilometers to reach the relief center.
The situation couldn’t take any delay. We prepared our tools and instruments quickly and we flew in order to document the humanitarian situation and the famine situation in Somalia.
The journey to Mogadishu was not a short one. The firm security measures at the airport make one reconsider and revisit one’s calculations!!
As soon as we got out, we headed straight to a food distribution center to the displaced people. The general scene – without any exaggeration – seemed like a scene from the movie Black Hawk Down. The smell of smoke was hanging in the air, and the signs of heavy gunfire could be seen on the walls. This was more like dreaming.
On the following day, we visited Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu where we found out that several hospital wings were crowded with children suffering from severe malnutrition with the hospital no longer being able to take in additional cases.
The humidity reigning in the hospital, the walls painted in green, the tears, the sadness filling the place: In one corner, a woman was crying for her dying son; and a father looking weak and distracted was carrying his daughter with a feeding tube inserted down her nose.
At this point, you might surprise yourself and be shocked by how hard your heart is. You might even imagine that you are not human if you are not affected by the tragedy. However, I have learned that this is what I have to do to be able to help them.