Story

Tanzania: Droughts in Engaruka Cause Hunger

Engaruka is a small northern Tanzanian village on the foot-slopes of the Rift Valley escarpment. Image by Sharon Schmickle. Tanzania, 2013.

Villages in this region have lost 65 percent of their livestock due to drought. Image by Sharon Schmickle. Tanzania, 2013.

Many families have endured 24 hour stretches with nothing to eat, according to the Whole Village project. Juliana Saitoti, seated right, said rain this year has eased hunger. Image by Sharon Schmickle. Tanzania, 2013.

Even with more rain this year, Juliana Saitoti, seated right, said her family would run out of food in October. Image by Sharon Schmickle. Tanzania, 2013.

Chickens have found enough to eat this year so there have been eggs for the children. Image by Sharon Schmickle. Tanzania, 2013.

Thomas Saitoti’o, shown with son Daniel-Thomas, owned 30 cows before 2009. After the ravages of the last droughts, he is down to 2 cows, he said. Image by Sharon Schmickle. Tanzania, 2013.

Students at the Engaruka school lined up for lunch. Image by Sharon Schmickle. Tanzania, 2013.

One in 10 Engaruka students has been acutely malnourished as preschoolers, according to the Whole Village Project. Image by Sharon Schmickle. Tanzania, 2013.

Most food served at the school comes from the Tanzanian government and relief agencies. Image by Sharon Schmickle. Tanzania, 2013.

Corn and bean porridge is the typical meal. Fruit and meat are served only rarely. Image by Sharon Schmickle. Tanzania, 2013.

Students ate lunch under the trees. Image by Sharon Schmickle. Tanzania, 2013.

After Thomas Saitoti’o ran out of food last spring, his children were fed corn from a government program. Image by Sharon Schmickle. Tanzania, 2013.

In a typical day, Thomas Saitoti’o’s family has tea with milk for breakfast and a mid-day meal of corn porridge — with beans, if they are available. Image by Sharon Schmickle. Tanzania, 2013.

Engaruka’s village leader, Konio Ndoika, said ancient farmers built a sophisticated irrigation project at this site, but eventually abandoned it. Image by Sharon Schmickle. Tanzania, 2013.

With the effects of climate change looming, villages like Engaruka fear for the future of their children. Image by Sharon Schmickle. Tanzania, 2013.

Engaruka, a village in Tanzania, is prone to drought. Currently, the villagers have little left in the way of livestock and other possessions. They are left empty-handed in the face of future droughts. Some villagers, such as Thomas Saitoti'o, once owned 30 cows. Now, however, he is down to two. Villagers have lost over 65 percent of their livestock due to drought.

Children are suffering as well. Most food served at the school has to come from the Tanzanian government or relief agencies. Meanwhile, some families have been lucky enough to have their chickens lay eggs. Other families are worried they will not have enough food to feed their children past October.