I haven’t posted in a while…for no other reason than being incredibly busy. But this just broke my heart and I think we ALL need to be reminded of our countless blessings…and what it truly means to be thankful, and reminded to be mindful of what we waste. Please donate generously and pray that this enormous burden is lifted from the people of Somalia, and all those around the world who suffer from hardship and hunger while we live in excess.
(DADAAB, Kenya) — As the Islamic holy month of Ramadan begins, Faduma Aden is fasting during the day even though she doesn’t have enough food to celebrate with a sundown feast. The Somali mother of three, who fled starvation in her homeland and now lives at a Kenyan refugee camp, says she will fast because she fears God.
Muslims around the world mark sundown during the holy month of Ramadan that began Monday with extravagant dinners after not eating from sunrise to sundown. That kind of nighttime celebration is unthinkable this year for most Somalis, who already are suffering empty stomachs during the worst famine in a generation. Global Spin: How Do You Feed Four Million Hungry People?
Despite the lack of food, for Somalis like Aden it’s a matter of faith to participate in Ramadan’s fast, even though Islam allows the ailing to eat. Others, though, are ashamed they don’t have enough food for the sundown dinner. “How I will fast when I don’t have something to break it?” said Mohamed Mohamud Abdulle. “Today is the worst day I ever faced. All my family are hungry and I have nothing to feed them. “I feel the hunger that forced me from my home has doubled here.”
Tens of thousands of Somalis already have fled starvation to the world’s largest refugee camp in neighboring Kenya, where Abdulle said people can’t fast without food “to console the soul” at sundown.
For most of the Muslim world, Ramadan this year falls at a time of rising food prices and political upheaval. Food prices typically spike during the Muslim religious month, and the elaborate dinners many in the Middle East put on to break the daily fast drive a deep hole in household budgets.
Somalis fleeing famine say they have been unintentionally fasting for weeks or months, but without the end-of-day meal to regain their strength. “I cannot fast because I cannot get food to break it and eat before the morning,” said Nur Ahmed, a father of six at a camp for internally displaced people in Mogadishu called Badbado. Ahmed’s wife died last year during childbirth, he said.
Sheik Ali Sheik Hussein, a mosque leader in Mogadishu, called it “worrying” that many Somalis cannot fast because they don’t have the food to break it with. “We have asked all Muslims to donate to help those dying from hunger,” he said. “Muslims should not be silent on this situation, so we shall help if Allah wills.”
President Barack Obama, in a Ramadan statement Monday, said that fasting can be used to “increase spirituality, discipline, and consciousness of God’s mercy.” Obama said now is a time for the world to come together to offer support to famine relief efforts. “The heartbreaking accounts of lost lives and the images of families and children in Somalia and the Horn of Africa struggling to survive remind us of our common humanity and compel us to act,” Obama said.
Associated Press writer Abdi Guled contributed from Mogadishu, Somalia.