Voices from the Horn of Africa: Fatima and Abdi

Fatima is a grocer in central Kenya. Here, she tells how the drought has affected her family and her livelihood.
Fatima with her son, Abdi
Fatima with her son, Abdi. Photo: ACF-Kenya.

Fatima Adam owns a grocery store in Eskot, a town in Garbatulla in central Kenya. The shop earned enough to provide for her family until a severe drought—the country’s worst in 60 years—left her shelves bare and her customers, most of whom earn money by farming, with little to spend. Her income declined badly and, at the height of the drought, access to food became less and less reliable.  As a result, her young son, Abdi, now suffers from malnutrition. Here, in her own words, she describes what this crisis has meant for her family as her son is treated at an Action Against Hunger stabilization center:

"Abdi was such a cheerful boy, happy and healthy, but when I look at him now, it is hard to believe how thin he is. And yet, he has gained weight since starting his treatment, he is now much better. A few weeks ago it was difficulthe kept asking me for food, but we had none at home. The drought has been terrible for farmers in the region, but has also had an impact on everyone else. You see, my husband and I have a small shop where we usually sell vegetables. Normally, we can earn up to 1,000 shillings per week (around $10.50). But today, because of drought, people no longer have any money to buy anything from us.

“The drought has ruined farming families. People are begging me to give them credit to buy food, but I have to tell them that even I do not have enough to feed my children. That's why my son Abdi became malnourished. Fortunately, since Action Against Hunger started to treat him, he has gained weight and strength. He may even be able to go back to school soon."