Kiss FM have today concentrated the efforts of Kenyans to donate food to the starving around the country. Red Cross drop boxes were placed at all major supermarkets from Nairobi, to Mombasa, to Kisumu.
Their goal today was to collect100 tons of food and they were cajoling listeners to go and donate all day. I succumbed at around 10.30am. It was a really good idea to get people moving. I had dropped a big bag of rice in last week, but making it 'One day' 'One People' 'Lets save 2 million lives' was enough to drive people back to donate more and focus their minds on the problem.
All sorts of businesses were phoning in to say they had donated canters/lorry loads of food. One man was buying 100,000 shillings worth of rice and was speaking to the radio presenter from the till as he handed over his cash. School children went to donate. I don't know if they will make their target but by 4.30pm they had passed 50 tons and hopefully more would donate after knocking off work.
While MPs in Parliament debate on who was incriminated in the maize scandal where a million sacks of maize 'went missing' (MP William Ruto's position was looking extremely dicey after two days of lambasting - he must be sweating) - the rest of the country were physically doing something about the problem and that is all thanks to the local media. Nation media sent a team up Mount Kenya to raise money for the hungry a week or two ago, the Standard and Nation newspapers brought the country's attention to the plight of the starving by running large/shocking photo stories and the radio stations have launched charity appeals.
It's been a bit of a charity month with our ex nightwatchman and his wife needing costly tests for HIV and another member of staff taking a big loan to go and build his brother some kind of house. A lady, Stella, came to our gate today looking for work with a typed reference in hand. She said,
'my children have been locked out of our house as I cannot pay the rent'
I gave her a bit of money, took a phone number (apparently she does have a husband as she gave me his tel no as she didn't have one) and I told her to come back next week and I would see what I could do. Not sure how easy it will be to work miracles for a total stranger. There are so many in her position looking for work, I am already keeping my ears open for two more, Lucy and Patricia.
It's a horrible feeling to be living in a country where people are left to starve and sadly this is not the first time. It seems to be an almost annual problem.
p.s. Still a chance that those guilty of inciting election violence might have to go to the Hague. Parliament cannot agree on establishing a local tribunal and twice members have walked out or been absent thus thwarting the process.
Update: - they managed to collect 170 tons of food in 24 hours - a massive achievement!