If you’ve ever heard me talk about Ethiopia, you’ve probably heard me talk about the amazing weather that we have here. Which is true, the weather is more often than not just about perfect. But, these last few weeks the sun has been shining just a little too much for my comfort. It’s a crazy thing to complain about, because it’s barely gotten into the mid 80′s lately. So, as soon as you step into the shade you feel much better (thank God for nearly no humidity in Addis Ababa!). With that said, the sun shines a bit brighter in Ethiopia than it does elsewhere – we are pretty close to the equator after all. Not to mention Ethiopia being coined as the land of 13 months of sunshine (their calendar actually has 13 months here).
However, the current problem in Ethiopia goes beyond my discomfort (surprising, huh?). We are facing a drought. I’ve read reports that blame it on El Nino. Whatever the cause, Ethiopia is not getting enough rain. The seasons here are pretty simple: rainy and dry. But one of the most crucial aspects of the seasons is a short rainy season that happens in March or April. This is after months and months of no rain at all. It helps to loosen the soil, which allows the farmers to plow it and plant their crops. There is then a bit more dry and hot weather before the full on rainy season starts in June. Unfortunately, this year we didn’t have nearly enough rain in March and April. In fact, we had hardly any at all. Just a few days here and there.
Beyond that, some meteorologists are saying that there won’t be enough rain during krumpt (Amharic for rainy season). This could have a very serious impact on Ethiopia’s food security and economy. In a country where starvation has been an issue for a long time now, this isn’t good news to hear. The majority of the food in Ethiopia is produced locally. If the crops can’t grow and the animals don’t have enough grass to eat, this could be a really serious problem. Inflation has just about hit 30% already. Food prices have been rising continually for months now. Prices of nearly everything else has risen too. These are tough times.
But maybe, just maybe, the rains will come. Maybe there will be enough rain here to water all the land. Maybe the crops will grow beautifully this year. Maybe there will be more than enough grass for all the animals to eat. Maybe the rainy season will be as beautiful as it always is. Maybe there will be more mud than we know what to do with. Maybe. But if not, we are in some trouble. And this speaks to a greater issue in Ethiopia. People are always waiting for things to get better here. For poverty to be reduced. For food to be plentiful. If only the rains come. I guess we should question what the rains really are.
Rain is water that falls from the sky. It nourishes the land. It allows things to grow. Therefore, rain is something that brings life, that brings hope and that brings change. When the rainy season comes in Ethiopia, things change drastically. The weather gets colder. The dust turns into mud. Dry fields turn into bountiful crops. Streams turn into rivers. Ponds turn into lakes.
My hope is that those of us who are committed to helping Ethiopia, committed to bringing about change here, will be able to bring “rain” upon Ethiopia. My hope is that poverty turns into wealth. Starvation turns into fullness. Problems turn into solutions. Despair turns into hope.
It is our goal at Fields of Hope to really be able to bring hope to those living in the worst of conditions, to bring change where it is desperately needed. This is impossible without the help of people like you. We need your encouragement, prayers (or good thoughts, good vibes, or whatever else you’re comfortable with) and support. Oh, and donations would really help too!