"Sometimes I would like to ask God, why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it... but I'm afraid He might ask me the same question." Anonymous

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Story from Dadaab, Kenya

You can help save lives in the Horn of Africa.

It was the hole in the ground that got me. It was as deep as it was wide. It was carved, bit by bit, into brick red earth by men wielding shovels and farming tools. The hole didn't have to be too big — just 4' x 4'. It was for a child.

His name was Ibrahim, and he was 3 years old. Ibrahim had come from Somalia with his family seeking shelter, food, water, and medicine. They had arrived days before at Dadaab in eastern Kenya — the world's largest refugee camp. Ibrahim died at a clinic just as Dadaab was registering its 400,000th refugee — most from Somalia — 70 percent of the new arrivals due to drought.

We met Ibrahim's aunt on the windy plains of the camp and she told us about Ibrahim. "He couldn't survive the journey," she said.

I have covered drought and hunger in Kenya for five years now. In October 2008, I lived with a family in Turkana, Kenya, today one of the worst-hit areas in the Horn of Africa. But even then it was bad. The land was barren. Livestock, worth their weight in gold to pastoralist families, had died. I ate what the family ate for five days — relief supplies that amounted to about a cup of food per day. I wanted to see what hunger felt like.
Ibrahim's aunt, Isnino, sits with her baby at Dadaab camp in Kenya. She says her food is finished and that she will have to beg from relatives. "I am worried about the future for myself and my family," she shares.

Workers prepare the grave for 3-year-old Ibrahim, who died from hunger. He is the third child they are burying today.

Not having enough food sapped me of strength and curiosity. I could do little more than sit in the family's hut all day, shielding my skin from the scorching sun. With my energy sapped, I saw hunger in a new way — as a killer of the things inside a person, the will that enables one to persevere.

I am back in the Horn of Africa three years later to cover a drought that seems to have no end.

I returned to Turkana last week, where World Vision is feeding malnourished children nutritious Plumpy'nut™ and providing food and water for their families. The situation is worse than before. I tried to make eye contact with some of the 500 mothers waiting for food in scant shade. But the light had gone out of their eyes. They had no interest in interacting. The drought had finally taken its toll on their steely spirits.

The Turkana mothers' apathy was distressing, but it was the hole in the ground at Dadaab refugee camp that did me in.

Traveling from the camp to a room where I slept in a bed instead of under a tent made of sticks, I thought about that hole and the child, Ibrahim, who would be tenderly placed inside. The brick-red dirt would be replaced. His grave would be topped with thorn bushes to keep the wild animals from desecrating his body. Ibrahim's child-sized mound of earth would join the fresh graves of two other children buried that day in the makeshift cemetery.

Rumbling over the rutted roads, staring out the window at dry land littered with cattle carcasses, I thought about that hole.

And how its size so perfectly matched the empty space inside me.

In Him,

Kari Costanza
World Vision

Kari Costanza, World Vision International's global editor, has touched countless hearts with stories from her trips to Africa. As this recent crisis accelerated, Kari, an award-winning journalist, went to the Horn of Africa once again to witness the suffering of children and parents and the hope that World Vision offers. You can help provide life-saving food and other essentials to starving children in the Horn of Africa.

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Current time in Ethiopia

Addis Ababa

Adoption Time-line

02/02/10- Ethiopia adoption application & fee sent.

02/17/10- Accepted into America Worlds Ethiopia Program!

02/20/10- Paid initial AWAA program fee.

Start paper chase...

03/02/10- Ordered our birth certificates.

03/02/10- Spoke w/and chose GLAD as Home-Study Agency.

03/03/10- Got Angi's employeement & life ins. verification.

03/04/10- Received Tim's birth cert. in mail.

03/04/10- Went to courthouse, got Marriage Cert.

03/05/10- Received Angi's birth cert. in mail.

03/05/10- Scheduled Tim's phys. letter doctor appt.for 3/8

03/08/10- Mailed GLAD application letter & fee.

03/10/10- Ethiopia made big change- 2 trips required now.

03/11/10- Rec'd GLAD/AWAA Post Placement Agreement.

03/11/10- Rec'd Tim's Health/Life Ins. letter.

03/12/10- Jack & Annie rabie shots/Home Study Requirment

03/13/10- Rosie & Sara rabie shots.

03/21/10- Began Hague on-line required training course.

03/22/10- GLAD beginning our background checks.

03/22/10- Our HIV tests and Tim's HEP B blood draw done.

03/23/10- Tim's TB Test scheduled for 3/30/10.

03/25/10- Notary notarized all paperwork we've collected.

03/26/10- Kyla, our social work came for 1st & 2nd home visi

03/26/10- Adoption Tax Credit raised to$13,100.00! Go God!

03/27/10- Kyla finished 3rd Home Study visit.

03/27/10- Finished family photo pages.

03/30/10- Tim rescheduled TB Test until 4/6/10.

03/31/10- Picked up Tim's HEP B test results.

04/02/10- Received Archie's referance letter.

04/06/10- Tim had TB test placed.

04/06/10- Angi got bloodwork records.

04/06/10- Re-did Financial Statement/faxed to AWAA.

04/09/10- Tim's TB test results- negative :)

04/10/10- Completed Hague On-line training course.

04/10/10- Dog vaccines done.

04/20/10- Faxed Florida CPS request to FL today.

05/03/10- Had our physical visits today.

05/26/10- Angi's bloodwork drawn.

05/28/10- Angi's bloodwork result- normal.

05/28/10- Tim's bloodwork drawn & normal result.

06/01/10- Our 14th Annivesary- Renee notarized physicals!

06/07/10- Picked up our physicals & faxed to GLAD/AWAA.

06/07/10- Found out GLAD rec'd FL CPS checks 6/4/10.

06/07/10- Requested Dr. letter for Angi.

06/10/10- Picked up & faxed Dr. letter to AWAA.

06/10/10- Waiting for AWAA to approve Home Study.

06/15/10- AWAA read Home Study & requested corrections.

06/23/10- GLAD corrected and sent H.S. back to AWAA.

06/24/10- AWAA approved our Home Study!

07/01/10- Got money order for final GLAD payment.

07/01/10- Met Klya/GLAD in Vincennes, got final HomeStdy

07/02/10- Mailed I-600A application & fee.

07/09/10- Renee notarized rest of Dossier paperwork.

07/09/10- Sent 2 papers to IN State Dept.for Authentication

07/12/10- Fed-Ex package received at IN State Dept.

07/13/10- We rec'd Authenticated papers in mail!

07/14/10- Rec'd Immigration Fingerprinting appt for 8/9/10

07/23/10- Went early-Immigration/Indy. for fingerprinting.

07/26/10- Called USCIS & left msg for Immigration Officer.

07/29/10- Officer Opfer called, USCIS back-logged 3 weeks.

08/05/10- Rec'd I-171H today!Thanks Officer Opfer-speedy

08/06/10- Renee notarized new MOWA letter & I-171H.

08/06/10- Got Cashier's check to go with Dossier.

Paper chase completed!

08/06/10- Shipped Dossier to AWAA by Fed-Ex.

08/10/10- AWAA received Dossier packet.

08/13/10- AWAA approved Dossier, maybe DTE next Fri?

08/13/10- Rec'd U.S.State letter stating I-600A sent to ET!

08/19/10- AWAA Fed-Ex'd our Dossier to Ethiopia!

08/25/10- Dossier arrived in Ethiopia today!

The WAIT begins...