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i-ACT21 Day 8: Mariam, Idriss, Zakariya

We Want to Go Back Soon, We Need Food Now

By Gabriel Stauring


Mariam is now 23 and the mother of three beautiful children. She is raising them alone because her husband left her. Well, she’s not exactly alone. She still has her sisters and mother. They all gather at the matriarch’s home, which has a big tree that offers cooling shade, even on days that feel hotter than 110 degrees.

I asked her about food, and she laughs. The last food distribution was 30 days ago, and that food only lasted 10 days. For the rest of the month, she goes out to farms belonging to the locals, but there is rarely any work available. When there is, she says, work begins at sunrise and ends at sunset. The pay: less than one US dollar for the entire day.

She asks us to help with all