This past week Maseru experienced a winter storm that brought much needed rain to Maseru and the lowlands and snow to our mountains. We are so grateful for this as last winter we had almost no snow and, as a result, our country was thrown into the beginnings of the worst drought on record. The subsequent summer, which is usually our rainy season, the rain came too little and way too late. This is due to the El Niño that happened; southern Africa suffers from a lack of rain during an El Niño year.
When there is no water, nothing grows; when nothing grows, there is no food.
Lesotho has been thrust into a state of emergency due to food scarcity. One of four people (Lesotho Disaster Management Authority) in the country are currently at risk and this number climbs daily. Even if Lesotho receives normal amounts of snow and rain, it will be a year from now before the effects of this drought finally subside. This is because nearly all Basotho live off subsistence farming, growing only what they will need to currently survive. The problem is this year nothing grew.
At the hangar one morning, during our time of prayer, Ntate Lehlohonolo shared that he had walked door to door through a community over the weekend and many people told him they were eating about twice a week. TWO MEALS A WEEK! A meal here typically consists of papa (boiled cornmeal—think very thick grits) and maybe a leafy green vegetable such as cabbage, spinach or Swiss chard. That’s all. No meat. Many he spoke to were elderly and children, the most marginalized of the Basotho people, and those at the greatest risk for illness.
Ntate Lehlohonolo has been attending seminary to become a Pastor. He has planted a growing church in his neighborhood, and, under his leadership, the church body desires to meet the need as they are able. This is why he was going door to door. It is also worth noting that most of the church members themselves are hungry and have very few resources at their disposal. As he shared, he was choked up; he is so compassionate, which is usually not an acceptable trait in a man here as it is considered weakness. It is an honor to work beside him in the hangar and to be his friend! I have watched him grow greatly in his faith and I’m in awe at how God is using him to show love and compassion. My relationship with him is allowing me to also be the hands and feet of Jesus by working with his church.
Would you pray with me that God will provide for the needs of the Basotho people who are struggling right now?
‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. ’” –Jesus (Matt. 25:40b)