I use the word “need” all the time, and like everyone else around here – I rarely actually require anything. The word “need” for those involved in keeping Light in Africa running however is not an exaggeration, it’s an understatement.
Abby and I recently received a very large and generous donation (more on that later), so we thought we’d ask Mama Lynn if we could break from their standard volunteer donation procedure, and get them a chunk of our pledged $3500 now, rather than when we arrive this November. She very quickly said they could use the money and when she explained why, I heard the need in her words.
One of my favorite things about Light in Africa is their interest in being self sustainable. For the most part, they grow their own crops and raise their own herds, all in the interest of making sure they have plenty of food for their kids, and to provide additional jobs for their communities. In Mama Lynn’s most recent blog post, she talks about how the lack of rain has affected their crops and their Tudor Village site.
The Kilimanjaro rejoin of Tanzania typically has two rainy seasons, and unfortunately, those rains haven’t been enough. As this article warned in July, the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania is now in a “critical period” due to the drought. The maize (corn) they've tried to grow has either wilted, or was never able to grow in the first place. The people who operate Light in Africa are now forced to dip into their reserves to make sure their kids get fed. I think the worst consequence right now though, is that they may be forced to cut back, or even close, the food kitchen they run in the tanzanite mining town of Mirerani.
If you think you have an expensive grocery bill, think about what it costs to feed 350 children, three meals a day, seven days a week. Now, think how much food it takes to feed 400 more kids, one meal a day, five days a week? The $1000 donation Abby and I received a few weeks ago was transferred to Light in Africa’s Moshi bank account last Thursday, and it will all go to purchase food for their kids, because as we all know, with a shortage comes an increase in cost.