I’m talking, Amanda finds me sleeping on the office tile floor exhaustion.
That’s after a three hour nap in my own room and falling asleep in the middle of breakfast right on the table after my body had no interest in more than a bite of bread.
Somehow I hurt all over, sore as if I’ve been doing physical labor all day even though I haven’t left the house.
One that has me shivering in 90 degree weather plus humidity, wrapped in towels because I don’t “need” a blanket in Haiti, and therefore don’t have one.
I don’t want anything.
Food, people around me, or even a book to read. Get it all away from me. There’s nothing that I want & there’s nothing that I want to do.
That’s what malaria felt like last August.
Today (April 25) is World Malaria Day & as I considered the event, the tweets, the awareness that the day is created for – I remembered “Oh, yeah! I had that!”
And then I remembered something else: so did Maxon. So did Hope. So did Nadine. So did hundreds of people who came through clinics done by CPR-3 medical teams.
And so did the estimated 670,000 who died from it in 2012.
My brain can’t even fathom that number, and I know yours can’t either. That would have taken Memphis, Tennessee off of the map: their 2012 estimated population was 655,155 based off of the 2010 census.
Malaria isn’t always fatal, but even when it isn’t it steals lives by stopping education, work, and the life from people’s eyes.
In both myself and hundreds of people around me, I’ve seen the zombie-like state that malaria puts people in. You can’t eat, you hardly react, and you definitely aren’t going to school. If you’re a mother, your entire family suffers and if you’re a child like Maxon, you don’t even want to play.
Water to refresh is filled with parasites & the doctor isn’t affordable because he’ll just prescribe medicine that will cost a minimum of 250 gourdes or $6.25 US. The indoors are basically outdoors and nets are expensive and hard to keep up when your family of six is crammed into a one room home.
Malaria isn’t the problem, poverty is.
Malaria wouldn’t even be an issue in America, because we would simply get to the hospital & receive the necessary hydration and medicine. But in Haiti, Africa, and around the world in “far away” places – it’s stealing lives, both figuratively and literally. Along with water, basic illness, and malnutrition, this symptom of poverty is destroying.
It’s a broken record. It’s a stat that’s too big to wrap our minds around. It’s too big of a problem to face on our own as we read a blog from our computer while we sit alone. It’s an issue our hearts break for, but we don’t know where to start. It’s too far from us to remember after we click the next tab on our browser. You’re wondering when I’m going to go back to my fun posts about what I get to do, or thinking posts about a spiritual truth found in a hot climate country (And I’m wondering the same, feeling like this post sounds way too much like a PSA or sad-song-sponsor-a-kid commercial from ten years ago).
It’s not affecting us and therefore our time is spent focused on other things:
“want to turn off the lights but bed is too comfortable #firstworldproblems”
“My iPhone fell out of my pocket and cracked my iPad #firstworldproblems”
“when the pizza box won’t fit in the fridge #firstworldproblems”
“not being able to hang all of my clothes because not enough hangers.#firstworldproblems”
“changing the background to your phone is seriously so stressful #firstworldproblems”
“Poured my cereal into the bowl. Didn’t check for milk first. #firstworldproblems”
Okay, I know that people don’t really see this as the worst thing in their lives. But humor me.
We recognize there are third world problems that are way worse than ours, so we’re not heartless, but those problems are so far from us. Our #firstworldproblems are what’s hitting us in the face right now, they’re what’s personal.
We need to make poverty personal.
I hate the commercials with dirty faces & the posters of sad eyes. But I’m doing an injustice if I tell you their stories and skim over the poverty. We need to make poverty personal.
I am so, so thankful that this isn’t my own heavy heart or a one-man-against-the-world battle.
Our Father INVENTED making this personal.
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:37-40
With our financial resources, relational resources, the internet…we can do SO much in just seconds. Especially on a day like today, created to combat the symptom of poverty that calls itself malaria.
Make it personal.
*Stats are from Roll Back Malaria/World Malaria Day website & United States Census Bureau