Penelope Crump, Web Editor
September 8, 2011
Penny just returned to the United States after spending two weeks surveying Save the Children's food crisis relief programs in Ethiopia.
Dido has been battling for his life at a Save the Children emergency nutrition program in drought-affected Ethiopia. I was so grateful for our staff and supporters that made this program possible. He wouldn’t have had a chance otherwise.
As I sat by his mother Garo’s side, my only thought was to comfort her and her son as she told me of their hardship and suffering due to the drought in East Africa. The small puppet I played with put a faint smile on Dido’s sunken face.
Like far too many families in Dido’s village, his family lost much of their herd when the rains failed for two years. The remaining livestock withered, producing a fraction of the milk they once had. “We were doing everything we could to support our family,” Garo told me. “We were just scraping by when Dido got sick.”
Malnutrition weakened the little boy and a cold escalated to pneumonia. Dido became a shadow of his former self, weighing 15 pounds – about half of his ideal healthy weight.
Garo faithfully fought for her son’s life – feeding him fortified milk and porridge all hours of the day and night. Constantly by his side, she stays with him sleeping on a small gurney in Save the Children’s dedicated malnutrition unit.
Garo knows the pain of losing a son; Dido’s nine-year-old brother died in an accident. Her sorrow washed over me as I saw her lips quiver and tears streams down her cheeks. She wept silently, not wanting to upset Dido. “I will not lose him,” she said fiercely.
I told Garo Save the Children health workers brought me to see Dido’s progress. In just a few short days, he gained more than 2 pounds and was on the road to recovery.
“I have no words to describe how grateful I am to Save the Children,” she said, pressing her hand to her heart.