Always Looking Forward
Last week, I talked about the food crisis in the Sahel region of West Africa. Today, I’d like to go back and talk a little more about that from a different angle.
One thing that continually amazes me about humans is their ability to get up and keep going. It’s something that I have seen over and over again since I started working with the HPA, and it is one of the things that makes me certain that, despite the magnitude of the issues we frequently deal with here at the HPA, we truly do have the power to imagine better. To quote Dr. Seward, from Dracula:
What does this have to do with Sahel? Everything. West Africa is currently facing a massive food shortage, due to a combination of bad weather, poor harvests, and rising food prices. It is estimated that nearly eighteen million people are facing hunger in the area, and the aid currently forthcoming is nowhere near enough to meet the demand. What are the locals doing about it? Well, Mahamat Suleiman is repairing his family’s granaries in preparation for the coming harvests.
“It is really wonderful how much resilience there is in human nature. Let any obstructing cause, no matter what, be removed, in any way, and we fly back to our first principals of hope and enjoyment.”~Bram Stoker, Dracula
The floods that destroyed Mahamat’s granaries also left his land parched and bare, destroyed almost all the crops and killed many of the animals that he and his family relied on to survive. Over half of the families in Chad region, where Mahamat’s settlement is, have been forced into debt by the crisis, and more than 20% have had to decrease their daily food intake. Most of the people in Mahamat’s settlement have left, many have been forced to sell their animals and eat the next year’s seed crop, meaning they will have nothing to plant for the next harvest.
Yet, in the midst of it all, Mahamat rebuilds his granaries–both as a precaution for the present, and as a symbol of abiding hope and faith in what the future will bring. “The floods destroyed everything and we need to make sure the granaries are ready before they return for the latest harvest,” he explains. Because Mahamat knows what every Harry Potter fan has heard a hundred times:
“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” ~Albus Dumbledore
So even amidst the chaos sweeping his homeland, Mahamat knows the harvest will come again, it may be meager this year–but all the more reason to protect it. There will always be another harvest, another year, and a better one.
If we all remember that, we will never be alone in the dark. There will always be another day; and a better one.
And if we can remember it for ourselves, we can make it true for the world.