Del Tarr talks about his experience in the Sahel, just under the Sahara desert.
All the rain in this area of West Africa falls in four months—May through August. In October and November the people rejoice. Harvest has come.
There is plenty of food. They can eat two meals a day.
But, as the year proceeds the granaries shrink. Hunger begins to bites.
Tarr says, “April is the month that haunts my memory…Parents go at this time of year to the bush country, where they scrape bark from certain trees. They dig up roots as well, collect leaves, and grind it all together to make a thin gruel.
“They may pawn a chair, a cooking pot, or bicycle tires in order to buy a little more grain from those wealthy enough to have some remaining, but most often the days are passed with only an evening cup of gruel.”
At this time there was always a little boy somewhere who would run into the house and tell his father, “I’ve found grain!” He’d been poking around in the hut behind the house and found a leather pouch full of grain.
He thought the family was saved.
The father would sadly shake his head and say, “Son, that is our seed. If we eat that there will be no harvest.” Continue reading