Today is World Malaria Day. I am writing this post to raise awareness about this preventable yet deadly disease, and hopefully to inspire action!
Since I became a Compassion sponsor in 2010, my awareness of certain global issues has multiplied. I knew there were hungry people in the world, but I didn't worry myself sick about it until Tasya told me her family pretty much only eats rice. I knew that people practice religions that involve magic and dark things, but it felt like fantasy until Joane told me someone at her church's revival had demons cast out of him. And I knew that malaria existed, that it affected people in countries other than my own, but I had never feared for someone's life as intensely as I did the day I got a letter from my sweet boy Said in Tanzania, saying his mother was sick with malaria. I immediately started crying, afraid that in the almost two months it took for Said's letter to get to me, he might have lost his mom to this disease. I was so scared for him- he doesn't even know where his dad is, and never has. Who would take care of my sweet boy if something happened to his mom? What if, God forbid, he got sick? After all, if it happened to his mom, it could happen to him. I remember going online and looking into how much it costs to buy mosquito nets for people- it's so inexpensive, it's ridiculous. There is no reason that every family shouldn't have mosquito nets. There are numerous organizations that provide giving opportunities so mosquito nets can be purchased for people who need them. On average, the cost is about $10. That's it. That's a little more than a single fast-food meal. That's the cost of a movie ticket. A fancy bottle of nail polish. Less than a new DVD. If we all made a deliberate choice to skip just one gratuitous impulse decision and gave that money to malaria prevention instead, we could cover the world in mosquito nets in no time.
Said's mother made a full recovery. I wrote to him so many times, telling him I was praying for her and asking how she was doing, that his next half a dozen letters or so included some reassurance that she was doing fine. This has tied our two families together in a way I can't really describe. I truly believe that if I showed up in Tanzania tomorrow, needing a home, Said's mom would welcome me with open arms as if I were a blood relation. If I ever have the chance to visit Said or send him a package, the first thing I'm going to pack for him is a mosquito net!
Every thirty seconds, a child dies from malaria. In the time it took you to read this post, a mother lost a son. A brother lost a sister. We can help stop this, though. Please consider donating to Compassion's malaria intervention program (cleverly titled "Bite Back"), or check out other ways to help through organizations like Nothing But Nets or Samaritan's Purse. And if you have a moment, watch the video!