Trapped by Hunger
At night, Nikola and Emiliana’s cries overwhelm Amos’ one-room home. His other three children cannot sleep through the sound of their baby siblings. No one doubts why the twins cannot be consoled: they are desperately hungry.
Amos’ wife, Anatalia, weeps at the sound of their pleading. Due to her own lack of nutrition, she is unable to provide enough milk for the starving twins. Their desperation grieves her heart.
When morning breaks, Amos returns to his work on a one-acre farm, plowing the land by hand. His hard labor does little to change his children’s lives; he barely manages to provide clothing, a place to sleep and a daily meal.
In Amos’ community in Tanzania, villagers have few opportunities to earn a living beyond farming. At one time, residents boasted in their large harvests. But recent seasons have been unkind to farm owners and to laborers like Amos.
As soon as Amos is paid, he buys as much maize as he can afford. This maize will be milled; for the succeeding weeks, ugali (maize flour paste) will be the only food his family will have.
As Amos watches his wife and children suffer, despite his tireless efforts to provide, their condition worsens by the day. He needs help — but he doesn’t know where to find it.
Cosmas, a staff member at the local church, will never forget the day she met Amos and his children. A health worker in the community introduced her to the family.
“Nikola and Emiliana were six months old, but they looked like they were two months old. Emiliana could barely stand on her own,” says Cosmas.
To further assess the family’s needs, she scheduled a visit to their home. Remembering the conditions she witnessed, she begins to feel overwhelmed. She recalls holes in almost every wall of their one-room house. In the corner, she discovered plastic sacks that the family slept on at night.