Now that I am writing these lines, I am in a remote area near the borders of Tanzania. For days now, our Maasai Priest has been urging me to visit their region to see with my own eyes the horrible situation not only of our faithful, but also of the entire population of the region in general. And naturally, I thought to myself: «Is it possible in the 21st century to have people starving to death because they do not have the necessary daily bread in order to survive?»
Without any delay, along with my usual team, we filled our small mission van with all sorts of food and set off for our destination, where we finally arrived after a six-hour journey. You can imagine the joy of our priest when he saw us. He could hardly find any words to thank us, knowing why we had gone there. Instantly, the priest got onto the mission van and gave us instructions on where to go and what to do. We were all very curious to see what we would meet. After a while, having previously traversed areas dug into the soil due to the drought that has been going on for several years, we entered an area literally nestled in the huge rocks.
Indeed, the whole sight reminded of a biblical disaster, since there was neither a green leaf in the surrounding trees nor any other vegetation. When we arrived, we stood in front of the Maasai huts, made of dry grass. The first to come out were the women followed by the little children. The whole spectacle was shocking. The people were really starving. If it is ever possible, in the century that we live in, to have people, especially little children, all skeletal, who do not have a little food to feed on! Fortunately though, thanks to what our priest had told us, we brought plenty of food supplies. The priest spoke to them about our visit and the reasons for our meeting. The tribal chief gave us a warm welcome and expressed his gratitude for the philanthropic feelings of the Orthodox Church, particularly stressing the undeniable reality of the famished little children.
So we saw with our own eyes how much these people are suffering, literally starving and lacking all the basic essentials for survival. It is a sin in our century to let these children undergo so much suffering while we live in our comforts, and yet, we are not content and complain about not having enough goods. We, by comparison, have a lot of material goods whereas others living next to us are dying of hunger.
Unfortunately poverty and misery abounds not only in the Maasai region but also in the capital city of Nairobi. On a daily basis 350 children, orphaned or abandoned, ask for our protection. We give them breakfast and a hot meal, cooked with sympathy and love. The whole program only costs € 1,000 per week and relieves all these little children who otherwise, could not survive under any other circumstances, would have no protection, no care from anyone. We should never abandon this God-pleasing work, which, from our experience, saves lives and gives hope and a message of joy and optimism for the future. Let us hope that God will send forth kind-hearted people who will support it so that we can keep it running.
We earnestly thank the Orthodox Missionary Fraternity, who for decades has been conveying these messages to the broad public in order to raise their awareness and, if possible, to find supporters.
† Makarios of Nairobi