Mumu sleeps under mosquito netting every night.
If you've never taken anti-malaria medicine, it's a weird sensation. First, the look on people's faces when you tell them you're taking medicine for malaria is priceless. Second, the nausea that accompanies it is very much unpleasant.
During college, I spent a month studying abroad in what the CDC declared a malaria risk area of Costa Rica. Which meant every Tuesday for nine weeks, I choked down a nasty pink pill that stole my appetite and left me feeling miserable.
Every Tuesday I regretted being cautious and going to the travel doctor before my trip. (Yes, I now do a happy dance when I'm traveling somewhere and don't have to take chloroquine).
Every Tuesday, I regretted arguing with the pharmacist to get five pills when my insurance only wanted me to have four for the first filling. ("I can't come get a refill while I'm in Costa Rica.")
Every Tuesday, I remembered that I could not give blood for a year.
Every Tuesday I remembered how truly blessed I am.
I had access to a doctor whose primary job is to educate travelers like me on tips for living abroad and things to carry in their own personal pharmacy (most of which I actually used).
I had access to medicine to prevent a disease that kills one child every thirty to forty-five seconds. (How long has it taken you to read this? I bet more than thirty seconds).
I had more Off! than I'd ever need just to keep those pesky mosquitoes away from my medicated blood.
Any mosquito bites I did get, were just annoying and itchy not life-threatening.
I didn't have to worry about suffering from a completely preventable, treatable disease.
I care about malaria.
If the medication to prevent it made me feel so nasty, I can't imagine what the disease itself must be like.
To many people around the world, the horrors of malaria are not just imagined but rather a very real, cruel reality they face every day.
Organizations like Lutheran Malaria Initiative and Compassion are bringing hope and help to people in malaria risk-areas.
You can help by sponsoring a child in a malaria risk area.
You can help by purchasing mosquito netting for people living in Africa.
You can help by spreading the word about malaria.
You can help by praying for the people living (and traveling) in malaria risk areas.
(Yes, I'm a Compassion Blogger which means sometimes they send me post suggestions. This was not one of them).