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West Michigan missionaries in Kenya assisting in drought relief

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A West Michigan family currently living in Kenya is working to help people impacted by an extended drought.

Rachel and Eddie Andersen have lived with their six children in Dukana, Kenya for two years doing missionary work.

Eddie Andersen said this isn’t the first drought they’ve experienced since moving there.

"Two years ago, we had a very long drought where we lost about 80 percent of all the animals, all the livestock of the people and many of them were on the verge of starvation,” he said.

Since then Kenya has received rain, but now the drought is back and that is immensely dangerous because the region doesn’t have the livestock they need to get through it without help.

"People here are nomads and nomadic people entirely depend on their livestock, they depend on their camels, they depend on their goats,” said David Gargle, a minister in Korr, Kenya.

Without their animals to help, the people are suffering greatly.

Eddie Andersen said there is a nearby village where out of 1,200 households, 900 are without food.

"People here are like — if the rains will not come, if the government will not respond, if people will not give any help — they’re like, they’re just waiting for their death,” Gargle said.

The Andersen’s are working to combat those conditions every day.

"So what we started to do is a food-for-work program where we provide food for those families, in exchange that they do some community service,” he said.

That food the Andersen’s are giving out is a lifeline families depend on to stay alive.

They buy food with donations that come from both Cornerstone Church in Caledonia as well as from any individual who can help.

"They can change lives, they can give people hope in the dessert, they can be part of what God is doing in the desert, and these will give people an opportunity that they can face tomorrow,” Gargle said.

Donations can be made to the Andersen’s program and the Kenya Famine Relief Project online.

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