A letter to you…from a loving mother in Mali

Hello. My name is Mariam. I live in Mali with my family. I am a farmer but my favorite job, like mothers everywhere, is caring for my children.

I love my children so much!

I want them to grow strong and live happy and healthy lives…but we struggle.

My baby is sick and in the hospital

I am in the hospital with my baby, Djeneba. She is very sick. She isn't growing and is almost 2 years old. You can see in the photo I shared with you that she looks much smaller than other 2-year-olds you know and love.

Seeing her like this breaks my heart.

We have been in this hospital for two days so far. When we arrived, Djeneba had no energy and was suffering from fever. Her body was very swollen.

She has never been well since I weaned her from breast milk four months ago. I am very scared because I don’t have much help, my children are hungry, my daughter is sick … and our crops aren't growing.

Food is scarce in our village

Finding food is a serious problem in our community in Mali.

The doctor tells me Djeneba is suffering from malnutrition because she isn't getting the vitamins and nutrients she needs from the food I can find for her. She also received an injection for malaria and syrup for ulcers. This wonderful care from the doctor and nurses is helping her body heal.

A mother holding her baby daughter.The nurses also give her formula. This is helping her regain her strength.

But I worry about what might happen to my daughter because of this sickness. It is painful for me to see these tubes in her nose and needles pricking her tiny body. I know you can imagine what this must feel like — seeing her like this — seeing her so weak.

I am her mother. I want to help her. Yet, my baby is sick and struggling to grow. I am so scared!

I know when we return home, she is going to have to eat what we used to give her because we have no means to buy formula like they are giving her here.

Before we came to the hospital, I tried potatoes and rice and fish. She will not eat any of it.

Thanks to the loving support of caring neighbors like you, my baby can get the nourishment she needs to grow and thrive.

Will you help my baby?

I hope you can have mercy on me today. Unless I receive support to provide wholesome food and care for Djeneba, she will remain sick and weak.

I pray that Djeneba will get better. And that all my children will be healthy. I pray that food will not be so expensive for very long. And I pray that we will have better crops this year.

Thank you for listening to my story. I wanted caring people, like you, to hear it. And thank you for sharing your love with me, and mothers like me, today.

God Bless You.