As this blog is turning more and more into a photography blog, I’ve been getting more and more of a crowd around here. Fun times indeed!
But, I’m realizing that for those of you who don’t know me at all or just started getting to know me more recently, you might not realize that I’ve got a crazy infatuation with Africa… specifically Malawi. Hence the main image on top not being one of a bride, but of a young Malawian boy.
After I graduated from Texas A&M back in 2007, I decided to pack my bags and do something I’d wanted to do for a long time. I moved to Malawi, Africa for 9 months.
This experience changed my life. Forever.
Almost two years have gone by, and I honestly think about Malawi at some point every day. Little Chichewa phrases pop in and out of my mind and my heart drifts back to a place that was very different than where I am now.
I give you that bit of introduction because I don’t want you to ride off this post as just another one of those “jump on a band-wagon to help people” posts that seem to be around every corner of the internet. I’m all for helping people… indeed!
But, there are really only a few things that are pretty raw in my heart if I’m honest.
This is one of them.
When you’re in Africa, malaria is one of those things that you think about very often! I would compare it to brushing your teeth here in America. The threat of malaria comes into your mind every time you get in and out of bed (lifting up the mosquito net to quickly get in without letting anything else in with you), or when part of your morning routine is downing a pill as a proactive measure.
Now, the reality is, it’s pretty simple to keep yourself safe from getting this terrible sickness. Heck, you really don’t even have to take the pill at all if you just avoid the mosquito. But, the sad reality is that every day… EVERY DAY… more than 2,000 children DIE from malaria.
That’s a lot!
Statistics tend to just get all jumbled up in my mind usually, and the way I deal with that messiness is that I just put it in the compartment of my brain that says “crap that’s huge and I’m not huge… I’ll deal with that later”.
The reason why this is different for me is because of the faces I’ve seen. I haven’t just witnessed numbers walking around websites trying to vie for my attention. I have seen a little girl.
Her name is Gladys.
She lived in the house next door to me for several months, and was one of the most lifeless beings that I have ever seen.
For the longest time we couldn’t figure out if she was just malnourished or what.
But, finally, we figured out that this tiny child had severe malaria.
She wouldn’t have lived much longer had we not taken her to the hospital and started her on some heavy meds.
Gladys was one child out of millions. When I looked into her eyes or threw her up in the air to make her laugh, her life had tremendous value to me.
So, when I read a number like 2,000 children a day. I’m able to take it out of its compartment and put a face with that. I can place sounds and touch with that number.
So, allow me to be an advocate for the 2,000 Gladys’ that will die today from a disease that could be prevented by the simplest means.
Check out this website to see what you can do to help and to learn more about Malaria: