This April, the Childcare Worldwide family is embarking on a prayer journey. For 30 days, we’ll be praying for God’s blessing and provision for the hungry children and families we serve around the world. To start us off, Charles, our Director in Uganda is here to share about his own experience with hunger and what it looks like for families today. For more content like this, and to add your voice to 30 Days of Prayer, sign up here.
42 years ago, I was born and raised in Buganda, Uganda, a region which was known predominantly as an agricultural region: a food basket and economic power house for Uganda. We would enjoy at least three meals a day, a heavy breakfast at 10am after gardening, lunch at 2pm and dinner at 8pm. Food was always in surplus to accommodate even visitors.
During our primary school times, our mothers would preserve some of the food which we would carry to school for our breakfast and lunch. This was typical of every household because homes produced more than enough food. Almost every household had fruits like mangoes, jackfruits, lemons, passion fruits, and sugarcanes. Our grandmother used to give us green vegetables that would help children to grow.
All these crops were grown naturally without fertilizers and pesticides. Seasons were definite: we were experiencing two rainy seasons from March to June, and August to November. Even without meteorological information, households knew when to prepare land, and when to plant.
My first experience of hunger came in 1995 when central Uganda experienced a long drought. Matooke crops failed, potatoes were infected by weevils, and beans failed due to lack of rain. We started buying cassava which was also bitter. Because food was coming from the pocket (purchased instead of grown), we first reduced from three to two meals, and eventually resorted to one meal a day, which we would take at 6pm. During this time, it was hard to get food to carry to school. Sometimes we would study on empty stomachs and wait ‘till 6pm to have a family meal at home.
Those glorious days of abundance never returned. Due to population growth, urbanization of agricultural regions, over cultivation of land, and frequent attacks by pests, plus changes in seasons where rains are no longer predictable, many families are food insecure today. There are so many schoolchildren who go without food throughout the day, due to the absence of food at home. On average today, only 4 out of every 10 households have year-round access to sufficient food for the family needs. The rest are food insecure. When they are able to get food, they eat a single type and sometimes one meal a day. This is worse with the urban poor households whose income cannot afford two meals or a balanced diet.
I request our partners and the rest of the world to pray with us that God may restore our land to have rain in the due season, have an abundant harvest, and keep our land free from pestilence!
The majority of Ugandans depend on subsistence agriculture for food and income with the first season beginning in March. Right now, we are focused on weeding and cultivating our plants. We are looking to nature to provide good weather. We have confidence that, just as God did it with Isaac in Genesis 26:12, when he planted in the land of famine, but was blessed by God to have a hundred fold harvest, God will do it again. Pray that He will save the many households, which are struggling to get food, and especially pray for school children who study on empty stomachs which affects their learning and health.
Childcare Worldwide is grateful to partner with generous people all over the world to build a better life for kids in need. If you’re interested in helping feed hungry kids like the ones Charles serves in Uganda, click here.