'I am here because of hunger'

Thursday 30 January 2014

Namana, 8, and her family have been struggling to get enough food for the last few months. The families crops were destroyed by floods last year and right now all that her mother is able to feed Namana and her three sisters are the wild fruits and leaves she collects from the bush.

7-year-old Namana holds her 7 month old sister Tome who is being treated for malnutrition at a centre supported by Save the Children in Kapoeta North, Eastern Equatoria state, South Sudan (Colin Crowley/Save the Children)

As a result Namana’s youngest sister, 7-month-old Tome, is malnourished and is being treated in the stabilization centre run by Save the Children in Kapoeta North, Eastern Equatoria state. Her twin 2-year-old sisters, Akai and Nadukwan, are also sick and have been receiving treatment for diarrhoea and fever at the health clinic attached to the stabilization centre that Save the Children also supports.

Namana said, “I am at this clinic because of hunger and because my sisters are sick.

“My youngest sister Tome is here because since she was born she has been sick and was very thin. But now she is getting better because of the medicine.

“There is no food at our home. The maize has not been growing because the sun kills the crops. At home we are eating lalok (bitter, wild fruits from the bush) that we boil and then drink. We will also then go to the bush to collect some leaves to eat. This can sometimes bring on diarrhoea in the younger children, but us older ones are now used to eating these.

“My mother asks me to go to the bush to collect firewood but if I can’t get any or if it is not sold at the market then we will go to bed without any food because we will have no money to buy anything. Sometimes we go for two days without any food and then I am always worrying about my younger sisters.

“When my sisters were sick my mother used to take them to the witchdoctor who told us to do this and that, but there was never any improvement, so now we come to this health clinic. I am happy now my sisters are here and that they are now improving and are getting stronger, and I hope that they will be able to go home in a few days.”