Watching Your Child Waste Away

This is a picture of two-year-old Nafissa. She lives in Niger. Nafissa only weighed 11.5 pounds when her mother, 25-year-old Rahamou, brought her to the Samaritan’s Purse clinic several months ago. They were both starving.

Due to severe acute malnutrition, Nafissa cannot see. “Before Nafissa’s blindness, she used to crawl and make small noises,” Rahamou told us. “When she lost her eyesight, she stopped all of this.” Rahamou’s bones also showed through, and she was exhausted. 

Can you imagine being a 25-year-old mother without access to food for your child, let alone yourself? How could you endure watching your little girl waste away? It makes you think twice the next time you use the phrase, “I’m starving.”

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Since our staff has been caring for Nafissa, her health has slowly improved. She has gained muscle strength and has started to crawl again. She now responds to the sound of her own name. Rahamou is recovering from her malnutrition as well, and we will continue to care for them.

But there are thousands more “Nafissas” in Niger—where every two out of five children are malnourished—and other places around the world. There are too many “Rahamous” with breaking hearts watching their children starve.

Today, I’m thankful that I can feed my one-year-old little girl, Margaret. I don’t have answers for all of the whys—why can Margaret see and Nafissa can’t? Why was I given the means to feed my daughter and Rahamou wasn’t? But I’m thankful. And I’m thankful I have the ability to care for others. Some days it’s through a prayer. Other days it’s a hug, a chunk of time, resources, or other things. As your sister in Christ, I encourage you to do the same.  We all have something in us to give.