maternalhealth08

Beautiful, isn’t she?  I don’t know her name or anything about her except that she is a woman from an African country called Sierra Leone.  She isn’t very much like me.  Her skin colour is dark and she wears a tied kerchief on her head.

She’s just like me.  She laughs, she cries, she dreams.  She loves her children and does her best to care for them.

The average life expectancy for a woman in Sierra Leone is 42 and 25% of the country’s children die before they reach the age of 5.  I am thinking about this because I saw beautiful faces like the woman’s above flash across a movie screen this morning.  I heard horrible statistics and saw a precious little boy laying listlessly in a hospital bed dying of malaria.  His mother was at his side at times in the presentation.  Her back was to the camera and I’m glad it was.  I’m sure there were tears in her eyes as she kept vigil at her child’s bedside feeling helpless to do anything about the disease ravaging his young body.  Yes, this woman is like me.  I too have sat and watched someone die slowly but surely of a disease that I couldn’t control.  I too wished there was something I could do and I too felt that the life before me was cut down far too soon.  How I wished that someone would have come and offered me hope at that moment.  A cure.  Something preventative.  Something.  It didn’t happen for me.

There is something this woman could have done to have kept her precious child from developing the malady that took his life.  She could have had him sleep under a mosquito net.  It would have protected him from malaria.  I’m not sure she knew that and I’m quite sure that even if she did she couldn’t afford the simple item that could have helped her.  She is not like me.  She is desperately poor.  I can shop and decorate Christmas trees and eat more than I need to.  She has to work hard every day just to survive.

Mosquito nets only cost $7.  I spent more than that on stamps this week.  I cannot bring my loved one back.  I cannot bring back the boy who died in Sierra Leone of malaria.  I can buy nets and have them brought to that impoverished country through The Red Cross.  I can give to someone else, someone just like me, what I wanted most all those years ago – hope for survival.  I can let her know that though there is no way that she can pay for a mosquito net, she doesn’t have to.  It’s not hard for me to pay and I want to do it for her.  Her life will likely be short.  I can give her a little happiness, a little peace of mind this Christmas.  Maybe it will be the only gift she receives this year.  And it will only cost me $7.  I can’t sell all that I own and supply every woman nets for all the children in that country.  But I can do it for a few.  And I can invite others to do the same.

So, dear reader, what do you think?  Can you help her too?  If you can, log onto www.connexuscommunity.com/malaria

and click the link that says “Join this Team”.  This will take you to a Red Cross site where you can donate to this worthy cause.

For more information on this campaign check out www.malariabites.ca

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