|Nutritional monitoring shows that four-year-old Moipeen is suffering from second-degree malnutrition.|
The deaths of large numbers of cattle in Kenya are a very bad sign … they are a sure signal that a drought has turned into a famine. Now, the roads in rural Kenya are littered with animal carcasses.
Livestock are so highly prized among the pastoralist communities in Kenya because they are the only source of food … and the only source of protein.
Pastoralist communities herd livestock (cattle and goats) and drink the animals’ blood as well as their milk. Drunk raw or eaten cooked, the blood sustains these pastoralists. In addition, they believe that the draining of blood prolongs the lifespan of their livestock by cleansing the blood and rejuvenating the red blood cells.
Four-year-old Moipeen’s family has always reared livestock … has always depended on livestock for their living and their very source of food.
They live in Kenya's Kajiado district — right in the middle of drought-affected Kenya. Now after months of hanging on through the drought, their cattle have died and the children are showing signs of severe malnutrition.
The family's last cow died in early February. The decaying carcass still lies in the compound, and carries with it the threat of spreading disease.
Now, Moipeen and his brothers, Kurente, Pasereite, Masoi and Koin are missing their daily diet of milk, meat, blood and other essential nutrients that their cows provided.
But Moipeen, the youngest, is most affected, as famine first affects the most vulnerable … young children, nursing mothers and the elderly.
Christian Children's Fund nutritional monitoring shows Moipeen is suffering from second-degree malnutrition.
Moipeen and his brothers are now depending on the Kenya government and CCF to provide them with food that will sustain them during this period of drought. They need a constant supply of UNIMIX — fortified premix to be added to corn soy blend or other flours — to reverse the malnutrition.
The road back to health is a long one.
[Note: Although abundant rains have fallen throughout Kenya, previously drought-stricken areas of the country are still in the midst of a food crisis because crops can not be harvested until June. Until then, these communities will continue to rely on humanitarian aid for daily sustenance and survival.]