Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Why Yellow Corn is a Sign of Desperation

The next couple of years look desperate for the poor in Kenya. During the post-election violence (January 08), mobs destroyed the crops in Kenya’s “fertile crescent,” the Rift Valley, and farmers were forced to flee for their safety. This area of Kenya is the bread basket that provides Kenya’s food.

In a recent phone interview with Deaconess Lorna, she simply said, “They’re eating yellow corn in Kibera.” I mentioned this to a Lutheran Kenyan who lives in California. She immediately gasped and said, “Oh no, they’re desperate.”

To you and me the significance goes over our head. Kenyan corn is white. Yellow corn means that they are eating corn from the U.S. That means they are not able to proved for themselves and the corn they are eating is crisis aid from elsewhere. Therefore, yellow corn is about 3 times as much as the Kenyan white corn. Yellow corn is now 75 schillings per can, which is about $1.23. The average salary for a Kenyan is about $1 to $1.50 per day. The math is not very hopeful for the stomachs of the people of Kibera.

What is most worrisome is when you combine the sky-rocketing price of food and the fact that their crops were destroyed, many wonder if we will begin to see pictures of malnutrition and starvation coming out of Kenya. Food programs have begun, but there is so much to be done. It is our hope that we will continue to make a difference among the victims of AIDS, the children and the widows especially.

Read more here Kenyan Farmers Uprooted