Somalia: Aisha, Mohammed and hope

It’s awful to admit it but after having spent a week in Bosaso, Puntland, hearing numerous harrowing stories and seeing children suffering from such severe malnutrition you do begin to become accustomed to it.

Just to be able to get on with your job you become a little hardened to what you are seeing and hearing.

That was until today.

I met another severely acute malnourished four month old baby girl. This little girl was called Aisha. I started chatting to who I assumed was her mum, Faouma who was holding Aisha in her arms in the clinic and listening to the events that had led her to bring Aisha to the clinic.

It suddenly became apparent that this lady wasn’t Aisha’s mum. She told me that Aisha’s mum had died the day after she’d given birth to her. She had died from intensive bleeding at home in her hut in Mingis camp, one of the 31 camps for internally displaced people in Bosaso.

Aisha was admitted to Bosaso stabilisation clinic on 30 July 2011 weighing just 2kg for treatment for severe acute malnutrition and additional medical complications.
Aisha was admitted to Bosaso stabilisation clinic on 30 July 2011 weighing just 2kg for treatment for severe acute malnutrition and additional medical complications.

Faouma was a friend and neighbour and before Aisha’s mum died she’d made her promise she’d look after her baby girl. Faouma already has nine children of her own. She stopped breast feeding her youngest so she could feed Aisha. Aisha has been ill since she was born.

I thought this was heart breaking enough and was struggling to choke back tears. I couldn’t bear to think what the future for Aisha held in a country where 1 in 4 children die before their fifth birthday and only 17% of the population are literate. It was difficult to ever believe that Aisha would ever get the chance to fulfil her potential.

I was then dealt another blow. The doctor brought into the ward a little boy called Mohammed, a year and 3/4 old. He was Aisha’s brother. He was being looked after by another neighbour and had been admitted to the clinic weighing only 6.2kg.

Faouma with 4 month old Aisha and 1 year and 9 month old Mohammed - brother and sister both being treated at Bosaso stabilisation clinic for children suffering from severe acute malnutrition with medical complications.
Faouma with 4 month old Aisha and 1 year and 9 month old Mohammed - brother and sister both being treated at Bosaso stabilisation clinic for children suffering from severe acute malnutrition with medical complications.

The only positive thing I could cling onto was that he was on the road to recovery and had already gained weight, was looking a lot more healthy and had a large appetite and a cheeky smile.

Treating malnutrition is just one step on a long journey to provide children of Somalia a future where they can thrive and shine.

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Comments

  • tansila

    thnx fr d article.it ws rly touchng.i wd wana b a part of smthng tht hlps ppl.plz let me knw hw…thnx 🙂

  • Abdulahi

    Thanks Rachel for your heart-breaking story in Bosaso. It’s indeed a tragedy situation and children and women are the most victims of this dire situation.
    I am really feeling the terrible situation these children are in, may Allah help these children!

  • Hussain

    The situation in Somalia is really disconcerting. The stories can only offer glimpses to the realities of the suffering that is taking it’s toll in Somalia. It is heart rendering that even in tumultous times there are those who care and know that having hope & patience at least serves as the first stepping stone to overcome the difficult terrain upon which they walk.

    A continual and collective exertion is really required. Every person who has something in their possession should be moved to be compassionate enough to offer either aid or assistance to alleviate the people of Somalia from the difficulties procurred by the predicament they find themselves in.

  • Rachel Palmer

    Thanks very much for your comments. Yes it’s such a heartbreaking, tragic situation.

    Tansila, you can be part of something that helps by donating – you can do that here http://www.savethechildren.org.uk – and by spreading the word of what is happening in East Africa.
    Thanks again for your support – it really does make a difference

    Rachel

  • charisse

    this sad story is a strong ordeal for many of our brothers and sisters in africa. may the good Lord have mercy on them. thank you for sharing, Rachel. will spread the word.

  • aww.. Im always thinkin’ of adopting kids like this..
    If only I am fully financially stable.. as of now all I can do is pray for them..
    I wish them well… I adore Bob Marley’s songs much!