Between coronavirus and locusts, Kenya’s rural communities overwhelmed

By May 12, 2020
Flickr_locust swarm

Kenya (MNN) — The coronavirus couldn’t have come at a worse time for Kenya’s rural communities. Kenyan farmers were already struggling with a massive locust outbreak – the worst locust infestation some East African countries have seen in 70 years. Food supplies have been dangerously low.

Now, those gathering in rural areas to avoid locusts risk spreading the coronavirus. And with everyone shut in their homes, people can’t go to work or make money to buy what little food is left. The food that is available is also marked at higher prices.

“Then they also have the issue of the curfew,” says Joy Mueller with Kenya Hope. “They have to be at their homes by five o’clock in the evening. For our communities that are so remote, they have to travel a great distance and now the local market or you could say the open-air markets where they typically will buy food have all been closed down.”

(Photo courtesy of Kenya Hope)

Before the pandemic, Kenya Hope was teaching Kenyan families how to make antibacterial hand soap. It turned out to be a Godsend.

“As soon as [the pandemic] started happening, we got those families making literally hundreds of gallons of this antibacterial soap that we could give out and also they could sell to support their families.”

Kenya Hope is also working to educate rural communities on the virus and get food to families in need.

As they work with rural believers, Mueller says they are hearing from Kenyan pastors who are struggling to support their congregations. Believers in Kenya’s rural areas have limited access to technology, so streaming a sermon online isn’t an option for many pastors.

“We had one pastor who had broken the church into small groups, and then he was approached by an authority figure and said, ‘Nope, we can’t have anybody meeting in a group bigger than five.’ So that has led to a lot of frustration on the part of our pastors. I know he is trying to go around and visit each of the families in his churches,” Mueller says.

“Another [pastor] has broken the church into groups and then he calls each group and then preaches his sermon over his phone to that group. So they are trying to be very proactive and encouraging their churches. But they are very limited in how they can go about teaching on a weekly basis to them.”

(Photo courtesy of Kenya Hope)

Kenya Hope has distributed audio Bibles to rural areas. “Right now, I know those Bibles are a lifeline to them,” Mueller says. “When they can’t even get to church, they’re really using and utilizing those audio Bibles to hear God’s Word.”

Rural communities and believers in Kenya need your support now more than ever. When you give to support Kenya Hope, their staff in Kenya are able to buy food to distribute to those in need.

Click here to give to Kenya Hope!

Mueller also asks for your prayers. “Pray for the people. Their economic livelihoods are at stake for many of them. They can’t get to their jobs. They can’t get paid. I know many of the people we know in Kenya are being laid off from their jobs.

“Also just pray that this would be a great time to share the love of Jesus Christ. Pray for them to reach out to their neighbors to increase the body of Christ. Pray for Kenyans, that they would really see the hope and the light in Jesus Christ at this time.”



Header photo courtesy of Wild Center via Flickr:

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