Faces of desperation and despair is what welcomes you to many homes in Ganze sub-county at the moment.
Hunger and starvation have wiped the gleeful grin that always define locals from the area.
For the fourth day now, Sokoke ward MCA Thaura Mweni has forego food in solidarity with his electorates.
Thaura has been camping at Mrima wa ndege where he has been sourcing for food aid from friends.
On Monday, Tungule foundation donated 100 bales of maize flour in Mrima wa ndege village.
Mrima wa ndege is hard hit by hunger.
In every homestead you visit, you will either find dull faces occasioned by many days without food or mourning faces after mass loss of livestock.
At time like this when hunger strikes, residents would rummage through forests in search of wild fruits and tubers for food.
Both the fruits and the tubers are no longer available, the forests have also ‘refused’ to give the locals food.
Mthunguru kept many families going as they wait for food. Currenlty the tubers from the Thylachium thomasii are hard to find.
James Randu, Ndigiria/Mapotea assistant chief narrated how the tuber helped residents.
“Mthunguru is a tuber from a plant we call ‘maizu ga mrisa’ which can be loosely translated to herders bananas (Thylachium thomasii). The fruits of this plant are edible. During hunger, people normally dig the tubers and grate then on a hard stick to make chips. The chips are then boiled in water like tea,” said Randu
Randu explained that the chips are boiled until some foam is seen.
“You then sieve to get the tea. It is very sweet with natural sugars. You do not need to add any sugar. When you drink this you can stay the whole day without feeling hungry,” he said
A warning however is that when you take this ‘tea’ after so many days, you will most likely experience a running stomach.
“Very few people will not diarrhoea but majority will frequent the toilet. This has always been a saviour of the people during drought. It used to grow in the forest but now you can crisscross the forest without finding this plant,” he said
Morya refuses to give fruits in Ganze
Morya (Sterculia Africana) is another shrub that offered solace to locals when food is scarce.
“Not many people consume Morya but when things get tough they turn to it. Morya seeds can easily choke you,” said Julius Kenga.
Morya is also hard to find in many areas of Ganze
The seeds are roasted like ground nuts then eaten.
Mkuha, (Dobera Glabra) is the plant that is in plenty in many areas unfortunately it has no fruits.
The fruits are edible.
The residenta are not only suffering from hunger but also from loss of the animals due to lack of water snd pasture.
Tabu Kahindi from Ndigiria in Sokoke ward is yet to come into terms with the loss of her 20 cows.
Tabu has given up on her flock and now she lets them graze on their own.
“I have seen droughts but never like this one in my 70years of existence. In 2016 I saw cows dying but not at this rate. I have given up. If the government will not do something then we will remain destitute,” said Tabu
Charo Gogo said many cows drop and die in the grazing fields.
“The carcases you see here are for the cows that die in the homestead. Many have died in the fields and no one bothers to pick them. The condition is dire,” he said.
Chengo Wanje lost a half of his flock to the drought.
According to Wanje, hyenas are scavaging on cows who are emaciated.
“Some animals are dying on their own while others are killed by hyenas. There is no food for people and no pasture for our animals.we can no longer take our children to school because we sell our animals to get fees but now no one is buying them,” he said.
Currently a bull that used to fetch Ksh 30, 000 is going for as little as Ksh 5, 000.