Song of Sahel – S.0.S.

Those who have:

As far back as I can remember, whenever I would refuse to eat the food in my plate, my mother would tell me about all the starving children in the world. She would make it a faraway place, like Africa. I don’t think she realized the thought destroyed what little appetite I had rather than make me covet my food.

Today, when we examine the facts, food propaganda has overtaken our industrialized nations by storm. It’s advertised, idolized as it takes up billboards, television commercials, pages and pages of our consumer magazines.  As people turn to food, more and more for comfort, for instant gratification, obesity is on the rise in most of our wealthy countries. In the United States, an average of 30.6% of its citizens is overweight, followed closely by Mexico and the United Kingdom. However, please do not get bogged down with numbers.These statistics are merely to show that here at home, our choices abound. 

I was reminded a little while ago that obesity is often brought on by health issues that are difficult to control. This is true. And someone else offered that in our well-to-do countries, we already have people who strive to get food on the table every day. Again, true. Of course, as a privileged country with all to offer, we are bound to also present the flip side of the coin with our own selection of ills and ails. It goes without saying.







However, the scope of this article does not address weight, size, height, or measurement of any kind. Neither does it speak of poverty, illness or even starvation. This article is about choices. Those who have the power to choose… and those who have not.

Those who have not:

The year two thousand twelve has arrived, and the great divide between those who have the power to choose and those who cannot, has deepened. Imagine, if you will, that the suburb or town you inhabit has not enjoyed rain in weeks and weeks. The grass has turned yellow, the trees are wilting, and no matter what you do, you cannot reverse the process. The draught continues. The yellow grass is now dirt, most of the flowers have disappeared and you’re left with dry dust on the ground. After more months of this unending draught, the earth turns to a hard crust, which eventually cracks and yields nothing more.

By then, all the trees have died. There is desolation everywhere you look. You cannot travel anywhere, as there is no transportation, but more to the point, there is nowhere else to go. If you look at the map of the Sahel you will notice that the region stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea.





Impossible in this day and age, you say. Extend this condition to your town, city or village. Extend it until the territory resembles the one on the map and includes 18 million people. That’s how many are dying right now, no choices left of any kind.

This summer, in our little bedroom community west of a major city, we were asked to stop watering our lawns, and the city council promised and enforced stiffed fines if they caught anyone with automatic sprinklers. Then came down the word to stop watering altogether, trees, flowers, and they sent patrol cars to make certain people respected the order. Of course, having choices, some people secretly watered their trees so as not to let them die. A neighbor said he was taking it from his own rations. Choices. Yet, many trees now stand as dead reminders on people’s dead lawns.

Aside from being the best summer we’ve had, this is what people are saying, with temperatures in the high nineties, we’ve seen what it’s like to have the grass turn yellow without there being anything we can do to protect it. Because we have a pool, we were able to direct our backwashes toward our hedge of Cedars and we’ve managed to keep them alive this way. Choices. We’re allowed to add water to our pools two nights a week. More choices.

Yet this terrible draught has cast an appalling shadow on our community. The birds have all gone. There is not one single bird as far as the eye can see. I’ve been to town and back, walked my dog while scouring the sky. They are gone. People have started looking for them, praying they will return. You cannot know how eerily quiet it is with only the chirping of grasshoppers and the buzzing of flies. Without the birds there seems to be more insects.

A dire situation needs the help of good folk from around the world. We need to draw from our own hearts and dig deep into our own souls. We need to forget about our daily problems and share our God-given kindness to help the people of Sahel.

Luckily, blessed people have answered the call. They are painters, authors, poets, songwriters, all of them having agreed to donate their hard earned work, and combine their gifts to create a contribution to those who have lost all their choices. Together, they have launched an Anthology of Art, Poetry, Music and Photography worth a small fortune, while the proceeds will go to help the people of Sahel.

Here are some examples of what your money can do:

$50: buy milk to treat a severely malnourished child for 3 weeks $100: feed a mother and child for 5 months $250: feed 5 families for a month $500: pay a nurse for a month to care for malnourished people.


Simply follow the link below
to give a little of your heart.

Song of Sahel – S.O.S.  


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  1. So sad because it’s so true. We waste more food than they will ever get to eat. We are so busy gorging ourselves with food that we don’t even know what we’re eating half of the time.

  2. Love that there is a group that cares about this situation. I will definitely investigate this further. This could be a project dear to my heart. Thank you for caring.

  3. This is a very nice write up. It is sad, but it would be so much worse if no-one cared. my son tells me we live in a world where more people die of over-eating than of hunger. We just need to focus on sharing instead of war

  4. Wonderful writing Joss. It touches the heart to know that what we are all doing with Plum Tree Books in Song of Sahel will, however little or much, help towards making the life of people of Sahel a little better. Sahel asks “Give Me Life” and we will do our utmost to ensure we can provide even a little. As my mother used to say “even a little is more than none”.


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