Where hunger comes from

It is easy to assume that all hunger is related to economic conditions and poverty. A lot of hunger is, but a lot is also related to instability and conflict. The map below shows that the Democratic Republic of Congo has one of the highest rates of hunger in the world.

The eastern part of the country has some of the most fertile farmlands in the world. A good part of that area is, however, in the throws of conflict and insecurity. So people cannot farm the good land they have. The translators for one of the languages told me about the situation in their home area. They asked me not to give the name of the language for fear of reprisals! The area is contested by two different armed forces. If someone goes to his field, he will pass through a zone controlled by one and into an area controlled by another. The food he is bringing back to his family may be confiscated by armed men. Worse, he may be accused of siding with the other side, thought a traitor and shot. So people are unable to farm the good land they have. The solution to most of the hunger in DRC is not economic development or better agricultural methods. Instead, it is plain old fashioned but illusive peace.

Because of this problem, we have had to move more than one group of translators out of their home area.

Most of the people caught in this conflict are believers. The conflict is not between local people. Rather, it is run by powerful militias many of whom finance themselves through exploitation of the mineral riches of the country. Local people are caught in a situation over which they have no control. They are not fighting anyone.  They want peace and would do anything in their power to have it. The truth is, there is little that they can do except try to avoid the armed me who extort things from them, loot their houses and businesses and sometimes kill them.  They pray, read their Bibles if there is one in their language, and put their hope in the Lord.

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