The results are in...
On Friday we were back in Kagoma Gate with a team from
Hope Grafted In.
We had the opportunity to do a bit of follow up on the malaria education program we piloted in Kagoma Gate starting back in July. I really did not know what to expect. Had the education been effective? Were the nets still in place and being properly utilized? One of the uphill battles we face in dealing with malaria is too often people use the mosquito nets for everything but their intended purposes. There is a joke among missionaries here that they are called “multipurpose” nets. Often the nets are used for fishing, catching white ants, to cover crops, or this was a new one, as a make shift chicken coop. The other problem we face is that sometimes the nets are sold for a few quick Shillings. We have tried to remedy that by actually hanging the nets over the sleeping area for them.
I am pleased to report that of the houses we surveyed the nets we hung were still up and being utilized. We will have a better idea once we are able to do a larger survey of the village, but for the houses we saw there was success!
During our time in the village we were taken to a hut that was literally falling apart. The roof had gaps and the mud walls were beginning to crumble. The villagers led us to this hut because a new family had moved into the village and had not received the malaria education and we had not hung nets. We were able to visit with this mother and to hear her story.
She came from a region near Kenya, where during the rainy season, mudslides are very prevalent. She came to seek refuge from the mudslides and to seek refuge from an abusive relationship with her husband. As we sat with her outside of her house and she began telling us more of her story, there was an overwhelming since of sadness and burden that this woman was carrying. She told us she had 7 children, but 2 of them had died from malaria. Two children lost to a disease caused by a mosquito. A mosquito. To be honest it makes me angry that a little bug, a bug I smash every chance I get, can cause so much heartache, so much pain and so much sickness. She told us that her mother once helped her care for the remaining five children, but now her mother too was dead. She was left to care for 5 children all- alone in a small run-down hut that was literally crumbling around her. As I looked at the walls of the hut crumbling, I thought to myself her world was crumbling around her as well.
I sat with her and walked her step by step through the malaria education program. We discussed the causes of malaria, the signs & symptoms, the dangers, the treatment and prevention. At the conclusion of the program, when it was time to hang the nets in her home, I asked if she had any questions. Her answer, “what comes with these nets?” Through the Grace of God my answer was quick and instantaneous and provided us with an amazing opportunity. I told her that these nets came with the love and care of our Lord Jesus Christ. That we were there in the village to teach about malaria, but most of all we were there because Jesus first loved us. I told her that we come with testing supplies for malaria, medication for malaria and nets to prevent malaria, but that God is the Great Healer. It gave us the opportunity to sit with her and discuss her faith and it gave us the opportunity to cover her and her family in prayer.
This woman’s story is one that is all too common here in Uganda. Lives and families torn apart by tragedy, a tragedy of a disease caused by a little bug, a little bug that truly bugs me.
Although some days are tougher than others in the village and I really wonder if we are making a difference, I look at this woman and her family and have inspiration to continue fighting on against malaria.
Join the fight in helping Healing Faith provide education and nets to other families just like this one.