Why I Stopped Buying Bread

Contrary to the title of this post, I am not here to speak on my eating habits but the ever increasing food prices triggered by the global food crisis.

bread-kenya

I am sure that I am not the only one who has witnessed the prices of basic commodities going through roof in the past few months.

And what’s amazing to me is that even after all the talk on the reasons and effects of this, nothing seems to be happening. And Kenya is no exception. However, there seems to be a ‘good’ reason — if not an excuse — for this.

For example, at the beginning of this year the price of bread, which was 20 Kenyan Shillings (Kshs) went up by almost 40 percent (Kshs 28), and this was attributed to the post election violence. Later on in March when things had come back to normal, the price still went up and this time the reason was, “there is a food shortage as a result of the post election violence.” In May the price of bread rose to Kshs 30, and this time the reason was, “lack of rain in wheat production areas.”

Come June the price rose to Kshs 32 and this time, “there’s a shortage of fertilizer in the country.” If that was not enough, the price jumped to Kshs 35 later in that same month, and by now everyone was complaining. The reason given was the ever increasing cost of fuel, and this my friends is the song of the moment, with the new price of bread at Kshs 40.

This is in fact a replica of what is happening with the other food commodities, which are referred to as basic commodities, and which I am sad to say are the “common man’s” means of survival.

If that’s not bad enough, a recent survey by an international agency (USAID) is warning of below-average agricultural production in the country. Ouch! And this is due to an estimated 25 percent reduction of cultivation area. The “fun” part is that all this is because of, you guessed it — the post election violence and high cost of farm inputs.

The report goes further to indicate that inadequate and poorly distributed rainfall in East Africa is to blame for the food crisis. Most areas in Kenya received less than 50 percent of expected rain during the March-May rainy season, which is supposed to be the long rain season.

On top of that there has been a scramble for water and pasture in most areas of Kenya, which has led to the deterioration in animals’ physique, earlier-than-normal migrations and reduced prices for the animals.

You can bet that the number of people without enough food will continue to rise, especially among the market-dependant populations in urban areas.

So what can we do? Sincerely, I don’t know, but I leave you all with these words from Luke 3:10-11 (NIV):

“What should we do then?” the crowd asked. John answered, “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.”

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A Response From YOUR Fan

SUBJECT: Responses to One on One With Anthony Njoroge – A Letter to My Fans

  1. Do you have a favorite Bible verse or story that has personal meaning to you?
  2. Yes, I do. My favorite Bible verse is Lamentations 3:21-25. And if you read the whole chapter you’ll see why even more.

    My favorite Bible story is the story of Joseph, for I can associate with how brothers (and sisters in my case) can disown you or treat you in a way that suggests that you are not part of the family, and how God uses all those bad experiences not only for His glory but also to lift us up and to bless others in the process.

  3. What piece of the Compassion program had the biggest impact on you and your life? (Fellowship with Christians, having access to medical care, meals that were provided, educational opportunities, or something else?)
  4. Gosh, it’s really hard to pick one program that had the most impact because all of them played a major role in my life as I was growing up, but the one that comes to mind was the Thursday Bible study I used to attend when I was 9 years old. It was here that I was exposed to the word of God, which gave me a chance to give my life to Christ (my best decision ever) and equip me with the basic foundation for the Word of God and fellowship with others – something I still treasure to date.

    By the way, I can’t forget the meals (which tells you I love to eat … Ha!) coz honestly, this was the only place where most of us children from the slums had the chance to enjoy three meals a day.

    And yes, educational opportunities, because I wouldn’t be where I am were it not for the chance to go to school.

  5. Are there things Compassion could do to improve their service to young people and families?
  6. (more…)

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A Letter to My Fans

SUBJECT: One on One with Anthony Njoroge

To all my fans,

Based on the many emails, letters and phone calls I have received I’ve decided to give you an opportunity to ask me any questions as you would like.

As part of this, I have already hired quite a number of secretaries and personal assistants to help me answer those questions. So be assured of a timely and appropriate answer.

So in a way this will be like an online press conference.

Yours sophisticated,
Anthony Njoroge

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National Reconciliation

“Let’s not curse the darkness, instead let’s light a candle.”
– Anonymous

Hello everyone. By now, I am sure some of you may wonder where I disappeared to. My blog absence has been for a good reason.

From December 27 to late January 2008 my country was plugged into what is now famously referred to as post-election violence; violence in which over 1,000 people lost their lives and over 300,000 more were displaced from their homes.

The impact was even more devastating in the slums, which saw the biggest brunt of the violence and left many people wondering, questioning, hungry, displaced and grieving the deaths of family and friends.

Anthony speaks to a group of teens.It was at this time that I decided to start a reconciliation program at one of the child development centers I grew up in. I wanted to try and help the children, who mostly live in the slums, understand what was going on, to give them a platform to share their feelings and a place for them to come and heal.

On March 20, I received a letter from the local government representative that I had been selected among 15 other young men and women in Kenya to join the national reconciliation program, which is a special program started by the government to bring the people of Kenya back together and help prevent a similar scenario in the future.

So all this time I have been traveling around the country talking to various political groups, communities, churches, elders and youth on the need for unity, and more importantly, forgiveness.

It has been tiring, but its all worth it. And it gives me a chance not only to share with people the love of God but put into practice the skills I learned through the Leadership Development Program,* to teach the importance of servant leadership, which I believe is the solution to the many problems here in Africa.

The program will come to an end on May 23 and hopefully by this time a nation will have been saved through the candles that were lit by 15 young men and women.

*This content honors our historical Leadership Development Program. To learn more about our current youth development opportunities, click here.

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impact of sponsorship

A Tribute to the Sponsor

Through the letters shared between the sponsor and the child, hope is not only stirred, but relationships are built, wounds healed and love blossoms. These and so many other things start a chain reaction not only in the child’s life but also in the lives of those around him or her, and impact is felt to generations.

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How It All Started

“What is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?”
-Psalm 8:4, NIV

A few years ago I learned something shocking yet humbling. I learned that I ought not to have joined the Compassion Child Sponsorship Program; that I was the last choice in a process involving 60 other children my age and my name was not even originally on the list.

I learned that it was actually my cousin, who is also called Anthony Njoroge, who ought to have been enrolled in to the program. The only thing that stood in his way was his age; he was seven years old instead of the preferred age of six years old. When my aunt was asked to recommend someone else to take her son’s place she remembered me, and that’s how I came to be enrolled in Compassion.

Now I look back at this and see so many lessons that as a Christian I need to remember but most of the time keep forgetting as I journey through life:

Lesson 1
That love and sacrifice conquers all. Just like God giving his son to die on the cross instead of me, my aunt chose to have her son exempted from the program so that I could enjoy the benefits of the program even with the full knowledge that she, too, was in need, if not more.

Lesson 2
That God indeed thinks of me and He has a plan for me regardless of how far behind I might be in life or how many odds are against me. Surely His plan and purpose for my life will be fulfilled as long as I keep my mind stayed on Him.

Lesson 3
That indeed all things work for good to those that love the Lord and are called according to his purpose, and there is nothing that takes place in my life that catches Him by surprise.

I can’t justify or explain any of these circumstances or factors that led to me joining Compassion, but one thing I know is this: it was the best thing that happened in my life.

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An Introduction

I have always had a desire to write, but if you ask me, never in my wildest dreams did those thoughts include blogging. In a way this feels like God’s way of preparing me for that special role of sharing my life with others and using my past and my present to build others as He builds me.

At first, when I read the e-mail telling me that I was selected to be a contributor to this blog I was excited, but it was not until later that evening, when I was thinking of what to write for my first post, did I start getting cold feet with the realization of what I was just about to do.

I sincerely don’t know where God is taking me with this but my prayer is that at the end of it all relationships will be developed and through the many authentic conversations shared, communities will be fostered, trust built, and that I will have effectively and knowledgably shared with you about Compassion International and what it means to me and to the other many sponsored children, not only here in Kenya, but around the world.

My name is Anthony Njoroge. I was born 24 years ago in one of the largest slums in Kenya, Kawangware, famously known for drug abuse, prostitution, crime and high levels of poverty.

I am the fifth-born in a typical family, typical being where the mother is the bread winner, head of the home and the pillar of the family. It’s a scenario in almost all the slums because all the men are either too drugged to take care of their families or in prison.

It’s in this slum that Compassion found me, enrolled me in the Child Sponsorship Program, gave me the chance to go to school, and provided me with the chance to enjoy three meals a day, something unheard of in the slum. Compassion also provided me with my very first pair of shoes, and, literally, my very first set of clothes, because most of the clothes I had were either handed down to me from my big brother or given to me by a close relative. Most importantly, I got the chance to know Christ.

Once your heart is changed, your mind changes, your body changes and definitely the environment around you changes, and that’s what it means to release a child from poverty in Jesus name, for poverty is not only a lack of basic necessities but more so a lack of hope. It’s times like this when I look back at my life and the places I have come from and thank God for having brought Compassion International into my life and the way God has used the relationship with my sponsors not only to show me that I can make it, but that where I came from doesn’t matter and that I am not defined by poverty.

I am about to graduate from Compassion’s Leadership Development Program,* and I leave a better-fulfilled Christian adult with big dreams, a degree in information technology, and a servant leader. And that’s why it’s hard for me to truly tell you about my life and who I am without mentioning Compassion and my sponsors, for they have helped me be who I am today.

My life has had its ups and downs, and through the many conversations we will be having I will share these moments with you. Did I tell you how I joined Compassion? That’ll be my next post.

*This content honors our historical Leadership Development Program. To learn more about our current youth development opportunities, click here.

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