Hungry children in West Africa forced to eat locusts to survive
In the face of unrelenting drought and food shortages, Salissou has begun catching locusts for his sisters to eat. Ironically, after they destroyed the family’s millet crop, these insects were the only source of food the children had. Salissou’s little sister, Rashida, is receiving treatment for malnutrition from World Vision.
Before sunrise, Salissou Agada, 11, leaves his hut in Kadoudou, Niger, and goes into the bush to collect locusts, a type of grasshopper.
The locusts have destroyed his family’s millet crop, their only source of food. With no millet left, Salissou catches locusts for his sisters to eat. The locusts aren’t enough, though.
Salissou has five brothers and sisters. The youngest sister, Rashida, 2, is malnourished and sick with fever. Salissou and Rashida have a very special bond. Salissou walks more than six miles every two weeks to take Rashida to the nearest health center, where she’s treated for malnutrition by World Vision staff. The journey is hard and takes Salissou two-and-a-half hours.
“If I carry her on my back, it’s difficult for me to walk and I get tired,” says Salissou. “It’s even harder if I’m hungry.”
Once at the center, the nurses give Salissou a life-saving peanut paste called Plumpy’Nut® to feed to Rashida. Salissou doesn’t know how his family will eat this year. He’s sad because his father, Adamour, will have to leave soon to try to find work in the city so he can buy food.
Adamour says he can’t stay home looking at his children go hungry without doing something.
“I love my children; their life is my life,” he says. “I have to go to get something for them to eat.”