From One Bowl of Rice a Day to Nothing: Hunger Spreads, Stalks 1M Children in Africa
It’s 10 a.m., and the 2-year-old is still waiting for breakfast. Aliou Seyni Diallo collapses to his knees in tears and plops his forehead down on the dirt outside his family’s hut.
Soon he is wailing inconsolably and writhing on his back in the sand. A neighbor spots him, picks him up easily by one arm, and gives him a little uncooked millet in a metal bowl. The toddler shovels it into his mouth with sticky fingers coated in tears and grime. The crying stops, for the moment.
Each day is now a struggle for the women of this parched village in north Senegal to keep hungry children at bay, as they search desperately for food. Aliou’s mother can only recall one time in her life when it was worse — and that was more than 20 years ago.
“I start a fire, put a pot of water on it and tell the children I am in the middle of preparing something,” Maryam Sy, 37 and a mother of nine, says in a raspy voice. “In reality, I have nothing.”