Kilifi is a resort town in Kenya. Beaches and hotels are the claim to fame, and tourism is the backbone of its economy. If you were to visit the resort town, you might stay at the Mnarani Club resort, where you can enjoy the amenities of the on-site spa or explore the ocean on a scuba tour.
But an hour’s drive outside of Kilifi lies Dzikunze, a small village where the hard Kenyan rains can cause the walls of the mud houses to start coming apart in chunks.
During the weeks leading up to the 30 Hour Famine, we’ve been following Nelly, a 10-year-old Kenyan girl. Her story is not that different from children all over the world, whose families cannot thrive in their current environment. Dzikunze is where she calls home.
Like many rural towns in Kenya, Dzikunze is a collection of families who live in houses made out of mud packed into a skeleton of branches. Because they are made with earth, the homes blend in with the red clay surrounding them. But clay is not all there is to see.
Coconut trees, corn, kale, and other crops stand out starkly against the red. These are the sustainability and livelihood of many of the people who live here. There are less trees than in years past; many people cut them down for firewood during the drought.
If you were to visit Dzikunze, you would have to make the drive down a red road cutting through thick forest, passing under gates designed to keep out elephants. And instead of signing up for a scuba tour, you might help the family make dinner in a small corner of the house. Corn is stored on a shelf above to dry, and smoke accumulates easily. You’d need to wipe your eyes often.
The bleating of the community goats, which are all penned together, mingles with the laughter of children playing soccer. They’ve made themselves out of cloth and string.
This is Dzikunze village.
Through 30 Hour Famine, we’ll be helping Dzikunze and other towns like it live hungerfree. Right now, the people of Dzikunze struggle to feed their families every day. Memories of green crops are sweeter than the seemingly sparse future.
But together, what’s ahead can be greater than days past. Because a better world is possible, and we believe this is our future to create.
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