Madagascar: Supporting Family’s Farming

Zana is an 87-year-old grandmother. She lives in the dry, southern, grasslands of Madagascar. There hasn’t been consistent rain to water her small village’s crops in over two years.

“Our crops have slowly gotten worse over time.” Zana explains. “If I had enough crops, I would have sold them to pay for clothes and soap.”

Zana’s family is large—10 people in total. She is the sole provider for them all. Zana’s husband died several years ago leaving her and her three adult daughters, who never married, to provide for the ever-growing number of grandchildren.

“My oldest daughter died in childbirth a year ago.” Zana shakily explains. “Since my daughters never married, there has been no man to help provide for us.”  

Despite the bleak reality of her surroundings. Zana never gives up—she simply can’t. Her desperation has kept her alive for years.

“We planted rice, sweet potatoes, and corn a few months ago. It was supposed to rain but since it hasn’t, nothing has grown.” Zana says.

The wide riverbed less than a mile from Zana’s home is completely dried up, meaning not only are the crops dry, but finding drinking water is also a daily concern.

Zana’s family survives solely on edible weeds that grow around the house despite the arid weather. The lack of food has caused her grandchildren to find creative ways to get full.

“There is wild cassava that grows in the bush. When my kids find them, they eat the tuber and then grind up the brittle stalk and make a sort of pudding with it for us to eat.” Zana describes that the meal is not at all tasty, but it’s filling.

Regardless of what the family is able to scrounge up, they never eat more than once a day. There is just never enough to go around.

“Things weren’t always like this. I remember years ago, before any of my grandchildren were born, we had cows and sheep. Our fields produced enough crops for us to eat and sell all year round.” Zana describes a past that is fading from memory.

After her husband died, the cows and sheep were sold to buy food.

“I am so hungry I shake. I worry every day about how I will provide. When we have food, I forget about my troubles, but they always come back.” Zana is stuck in an endless cycle of hunger and worry.

Please help Zana break the endless cycle of hunger and worry. And please help save her kids from starvation.

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The Adventist Development and Relief Agency is the international humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church serving in 118 countries. Its work empowers communities and changes lives around the globe by providing sustainable community development and disaster relief. ADRA’s purpose is to serve humanity so all may live as God intended.

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