Crisis in Mali: A Day at a CARE Distribution Site in Ségou


By Adel Sarkozi

Crisis in Mali: A Day at a CARE Distribution Site in Ségou image 1
Kadidia from Gao region fled to Ségou with her whole family, in total 11 people. "I have no words to express my joy. This is the first time we receieved somthing. May God bless CARE for being by ours side," she said at a CARE food distribution. © 2013 CARE

It is 8 o”clock in the morning in the city of Ségou. The sky is blue and there is mist in the air. In the street that runs all the way to the Niger River, between the courthouse and the town hall, you find one of CARE”s food distribution sites. The place is full of people – women, men and children. But mainly there are women in a sea of bright headscarves. Some cover their faces with their veils, many more wear a bright smile.

Their feet are dusty, but there is joy in the air as they receive their food rations –flower, oil, peas salt and other essential items.

One of the women is Kadidia from Gao region. She fled to Ségou with 11 members of her family. Despite the sack of food pressing heavily on her head, she smiles and says, "I have no words to express my joy. This is the first time we have received something. May God bless CARE for being by our side when we needed it the most."

There are others who have just arrived, hoping they can join the line. Fatoumata, a woman in her 60s, has fled to Ségou with five of her children. She looks tired. Unable to read or write, she is holding out the card indentifying her as a displaced person; she wants to get someone”s attention. "May you help me, and may God help you in return," she says shyly.

Not far from her, in the shade of a tree, sits Mohamed. In front of him is the stick he used in the past for herding his animals; he kept it, though he has no animals left.

"I have been a herder all my life, but armed groups have taken all of my cattle. Now I have nothing left but my life. I fled with my wife and seven children. It took us many days to arrive in S̩gou. We walked and walked before we found a driver who took pity on us. Now we are here Рsafe but without anything."

His voice is trembling, his eyes are red. "I heard a lot about CARE Mali and I came to ask for help," he concludes.

He will soon join the line of people waiting to receive the precious food. Once they receive it, they carry it off back to their families – some by foot, sacks on their heads, others by borrowed donkey carts or motorbikes.

Note: During the past three weeks, CARE distributed in Ségou more than 300 metric tons of food to 17,470 people.