I received a photo this week from Turkana, Kenya where their famine has heightened in the last few months. It was one of those pictures like you often see on late night television ads of a child who was just skin and bones. He was literally not far from death. Just to save his dignity, I didn’t reprint his picture. But it was real and sent from where CRF works. It reminded me of a story that I’ve told many times of one of my first trips to this area.

I was in Turkana with my friend Jim Shelburne.  We were sitting on a log watching our water team finish the drilling  of a new well for the people in this famine. People from miles away had been gathering around to watch the big event. It was the most entertaining sight in the desert. But it was also the biggest source of hope in the desert. The results of this well being drilled meant life or death for a lot of people.

As Jim and I watched the people moving across the desert, we noticed a young boy walking by us. He looked hungry. His body was covered in dust. He just traveled across the sand as if he were looking for something.

“Why does he have a cup in each hand?” I asked one of our drillers.

“He has one cup for water. He has another cup for food. He wanders the desert every day hoping to fill his cups. Some days he does. Other days he doesn’t,” he replied.

We just kept watching him and started wondering what it would be like to live his life—beginning every day with the search for food and water.

“What’s his name?” I asked the driller.


Jim said, “I’ll sponsor him!”

And Jim did. Sadly, Emmanuel died prematurely. But he lived the rest of his life with full cups.

Can you fill someone’s cups? Or even better—can you sponsor a child like Emmanuel? The famine in Turkana has indeed taken a drastic turn for the worse lately. We are still drilling wells, but food is scarce.