THIS YEAR, THE seasonal rains in Kenya came two months late. “Even the weatherman can’t forecast the weather,” Stephen Katama, a local shopkeeper in Nairobi, told me when I traveled to East Africa in June. “We can’t tell the difference between the summer and winter here anymore.”
During the past two decades, rain in sub-Saharan Africa has increased in frequency and intensity, creating dangerously erratic patterns of rainfall and drought. A single day’s downpour may bring the amount of rainfall normally expected over a period of eight months, wreaking havoc on the livelihoods of countless subsistence farming families across Kenya and Uganda.
Sub-Saharan Africa is among the regions projected to see the worst of climate change in the coming decades. I traveled with the Climate Witness Project, hosted by the Christian Reformed Church in the U.S., to Nakuru, Kenya, and North Teso and Soroti, Uganda, to visit farming communities facing extreme shifts in weather patterns.