It was a predicament many of the world’s poor found themselves in. According to the United Nations, “The pandemic is impacting food systems globally and pushing the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people toward greater food insecurity.”4 Numerous parents listened helplessly to children’s cries of hunger, many fearing starvation more than the virus.
Callon had to do something. Out of desperation, he bought rice on credit. It would put him in debt, but at least his daughters could eat.
“I feel very bad when I remember those days,” Sada recalls. “We didn’t have any food at home, and those days my husband was not able to earn money and bring food home. ... My husband had to get rice on credit ... That happened several times, and the situation was very bad then. And even right now we are going through that difficulty.”
The family continued to struggle. Their poverty enabled them to obtain wheat at a discounted price from a government shop, but they had no way to grind it, so they bartered a portion of the wheat to a mill owner. Sada got more seasonal work, but it was insufficient due to the pandemic and poor rain—and she was paid mostly in rice. With no money to buy vegetables or cooking oil, Sada searched in the bush for wild leaves to add some nutrition to their rice.
Then one daughter got sick with jaundice. Callon and Sada had no money for her treatment. They sold three small chickens to raise the funds, but it also drained their few resources.
“[The pandemic] has caused so much pain and grief,” Callon said. “It has caused fear and anxiety in every heart, and I’m very much worried about it. But then, on the other hand . . . being a believer, I submit everything into God’s hand.”
A Pastor’s Compassionate Care