Impromptu Malaria March
Today is World Malaria Day! According to WHO, 85% of Malaria cases and 90% of malaria deaths occur in Africa. Here in Alto, I have lost countless hours on projects to counterparts or a member of their family being sick with malaria. Fortunately, none of my close friends in Alto have lost family members to the disease while I’ve lived here, but a few had lost family members in the past.
I was feeling guilty about not planning any major events to create awareness and promote prevention and then it hit me. What resource in Mozambique is readily available, motivated and for all intents and purposes, unlimited? CRIANÇAS! Kids love marching around and screaming, so I figured we’d put their talents to some good use today. I hollered at Guebuza, my 9 year old neighbor and told him to grab some friends. We’re going on an impromptu Malaria March!
We started out with an intimidating crew of about 10, 5-9 year olds, and made our way down the hill, across the bridge, to the central market. All the way picking up a few kids here and losing a few kids there, but bringing it with some serious chanting. The main chants were:
“A Rede Mosquiteira!”
“A Mosquito Net!”
“We can prevent”
“A Rede Mosquiteira!”
After a brief stop at the central market to give an impromptu presentation about sleeping under a mosquito net, we made our way back across the bridge and half way up the giant hill before we had to take 5 in the shade. We continued on and as I thought we were reaching the end near my house, we picked up about 30 more primary school students and thus did an extra lap through the primary and secondary schools (definitely interrupted testing, worth it for Malaria Prevention!). We finished the march at my house where I passed out water and doces americanas, ”american sweets”. The sweets were actually raisins, my health police mother would be proud.
Often, I find that my favorite moments in Mozambique are the unplanned. At a minimum, I was able to put smiles on the faces of a bunch of crianças and taught them a bit about Malaria in the process. And hopefully, the local fofoca ”gossip” of the day will go a bit like this:
- “Did you see the American walking around with all those kids trapped in the mosquito net yelling about malaria?”
- “Yeah, probably the last thing I thought I’d see today! But I guess I should use the net I was given as a bed net instead of a fish catching device.. Malaria won’t affect my family!”
Since we got our kitchen in order, it has been really nice to be able to cook our own meals. It feels good when we’re able to recreate favorites from home, or when we’re able to secure good vegetables from nice people on the island. Man, how it’s nice to get some tomatoes and leafy greens in the mix! This chronological assortment of photos gives you a sense of how our cooking has progressed: from pasta, to grilled sausages, to fresh salads, to our favorite so far—pizza!
By Brendan Bailes
For 20 years, we’ve been getting things done for America. Literally, all of the things.
You’ve seen us around, but now you can find us in more places. Today we’re launching two new accounts — because, you know, pictures.
In honor of National Volunteer Week, please check out the Corporation for National & Community Service on social media! If you are looking to get amazing Volunteer experience before applying to Peace Corps, they are a great place to start.
Welcome to Tumblr!
Earlier this year, five Peace Corps Volunteers from the central highlands region of Madagascar gathered in the nation’s capital of Antananarivo to facilitate a weeklong GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) camp for young female leaders from their respective towns. The five Agriculture Volunteers selected four young women each from their respective communities, ages of 13-16, along with an adult chaperone to attend the camp. The aim was to equip young Malagasy women, who show potential for leadership, with the necessary skills to make healthy life choices as well as advance their personal, professional and academic goals.