Sabina Loliyak, Kenya
Image by Oxfam International
Sabina Loliyak, 35, has 8 children and is a beneficiary of Oxfam’s emergency cash transfer program in Loruth, North Turkana. An animated, resilient and strong woman, she lost half of her livestock in the drought. Her mother passed away during the drought – a mound of makumo branches marks her grave outside Sabina’s house.
"Before the drought, my life was very good – everything was green. Even the cattle and people were healthy. There was no relief food. We used to get milk and meat from our livestock, and exchange the male goat for sorghum.
"Six years ago, I was healthy and energetic. Now there is a lack of water. If there is water, there is a good life. If there is no water, then there is no life. If the livestock die then even humans will die. I normally fetch water from the Oxfam pump 3 times a day with a 20 liter jerry can. But because of the drought there is no water in the river bed and then the whole village comes here and scrambles for water. Sometimes we spend the whole day queuing for water.
"We are not getting nutritious food. Before we used to get nutritious food drinking milk, eating meat from the livestock but right now there is nothing. Even the wild fruits which we used to eat have gone and the trees have dried up. I can’t give my children nutritious food – only corn.
"With the money I was given, I bought sugar and sold it so I could use the profit to buy beans and cabbage for my children. I’d like to use the money to start a business and buy livestock. If you have cash, then you can buy things we don’t have in the house like sugar or beans. But with food aid, we can only eat corn for the whole month. If we can start a business, then our life will change automatically. Since the drought has come, everything has changed – even the lifestyle of the people. People who used to be pastoralists are now moving to the trading centers like Kaikor. There are less people in the mountains now. Cash will help us to start a new life. In the future, I hope that my children will go to university."
Photo: Caroline Berger/Oxfam