You won’t really know the damaging effect of poverty until you have personally had a taste of it, stayed so hungry and battled with the worms in your stomach, you have watched loved ones die due to your inability to provide for their needs as you struggle over paying bills. You may have considered begging for food, you have stayed awake all night counting the ceiling and praying for a new day and hoping to see it and not die because of hunger, you keep wishing for the things that are necessary but yet you can’t afford them.
Over 9 million people die of hunger yearly, according to the international relief agency Mercy Corps. Nigeria is a country blessed with natural resources, though still rated underdeveloped, we have enough food to feed everybody but poverty is a barricade that is preventing others from reaching it. Some nights some people sleep without having food to eat, children die of malnutrition and this can be avoided if we don’t think about ourselves alone but care and ensure that no one around us suffers due to the lack of food. There is no need to store food for yourself and watch your neighbour die from starvation.
Yet another Saturday of reaching out to the vulnerable, volunteers matched out as usual under the rain and headed to a community in Etche L.G.A, and on getting to Ihie Working in the rain, they didn’t relent just so they extended love to the poor. As usual the volunteers encouraged one another, they motivated themselves with music, I remember the young vibrant female volunteer who used her voice and energy to ensure that the palliatives are brought down from the van, the echoes of her voice and the excitement on the faces of the volunteers as they paced to her tone as she continually exclaimed these words; “who is sleeping? if you are sleeping you are joking! Are you ready! Guys let us do this! These words she said as they threw palliatives from the van with the usual formation of both men and women.
It was indeed an amazing outreach, lots of vulnerable people especially the elderly and pregnant women, this time we had more children all over the distribution centre. The people were so excited to see the volunteers, women singing and dancing as they got hold of the palliatives, in return praying and blessing the team for remembering them and keeping to their words. The people at this community are mostly subsistent farmers living off their proceeds and produce of plantains, cassava, maize and other crops.
It was an astounding outreach and so many things struck my mind but one really made this impact in the lives of some volunteers who witnessed the scene. It was about a lady who wasn’t given a tally on the day of the verification when volunteers came for scouting because she wasn’t present at the moment when the distribution of tally was done and the organization is very strict with her policies, so they make use of these tallies during distribution, she couldn’t get the palliative for herself because what we had with us was for those who have tallies already. The woman was really eager about this and when she saw that attention was given to some pregnant women and old women she went and disguised herself to be pregnant, holding a little child just so she gets the palliative, A volunteer recognized her face and made this known to some others in charge of distribution, they didn’t judge her they called her aside and made her know that they are aware of her stunt and gave her the palliative because they were compassionate and wondered what her situation is for her to go this length. This really made us feel the impact of poverty in our country and how many people are suffering and in need and a lot of things need to be done just so poverty and hunger are elevated from our lands.
I can’t stop seeing men and women struggle over packs of noodles left for kids, this really is heartbreaking and sad. Hunger is capable of making people go any length.
It’s another story and description of our experiences volunteering just so we are able to speak to the hearts of many in our country who are capable of making the change we all crave for. We wish for a society where our leaders are more sensitive to the needs of their people and not just minding their own businesses. We are all in this together, everybody is needed to make our society a better place. We urge you to touch lives the little way you can. Be compassionate to the poor people around you, help if you can and continually preach love by your actions for a better society.