Saturday, April 23, 2011

Malaria: Baby Aimee | You and Me Magazine

Malaria: Baby Aimee You and Me Magazine

When she sees my white skin, she presses her fat face into her mother's breasts and shakes her head. She hides and waits. But I do not go away.

She does not sense a threat, but I look strange and it startles her.
She waits a few breaths longer, and then her tiny shoulders relax and her head creaks to the right, allowing one eye to look while protecting the second.
It is as if I can hear this 1-year-old child's thoughts: "I was named after a 'Mzungu,' a white person? This is Aimee?"
I answer her thoughts with a smile.
She was born last year, when I visited the Kyangwali Refugee Camp in western Uganda to write a news article about humanitarian aid. Her mother, who I had interviewed, went into labor as my taxi pulled away. When I found out through e-mail they named her after me, I promised to return for her first birthday.
She is in my arms now, on my lap facing away from me. Her tight, tiny black braids stick out like spiders from her head. She is sucking on her dirty baby fingers, wearing a pink gingham dress my mother picked out at Target back home. Baby Aimee is humming, or maybe crying a little because she is suffering from malaria, again.
Her body is heavy with fever, and it makes my heart heavy, too. I know back at the camp in my backpack I have an envelope of $50, emergency cash I brought on my trip. Back home, the money could buy me new shoes, or pay my long overdue electric bill. But here, it could save my goddaughter's life, again and again. This small amount of money makes me feel like a superhero. I look malaria in the face and scoff arrogantly. This stupid mosquito-borne disease is not only treatable, but preventable. Yet it takes an estimated one child's life every 30 seconds in Africa. Inexcusable deaths. I feel movement over my left shoulder. My eyes leave Baby Aimee for a moment, and they skip over a crowd of faces staring at me in curious silence. Bodies of dirty refugee children push through the glassless window. My eyes stop on the eerie yellow eyes of one boy: he has malaria, too. I notice another set of malaria eyes. And another. Suddenly, I feel like I am spinning.
I jerk back to look at the baby on my lap. She plucks one sticky finger out of her mouth and waves it distractedly through the air, like she is conducting the galaxy of mosquitoes and red dust particles in the classroom where we sit. Without the finger plugs, her hum is a little louder. She leans back gently against my chest and I pull her tighter. I can see her sweaty dark cheeks from above, and how her forehead sticks out farther than her chin. Her lashes sweep through the air like black birds. This silly baby, this sticky, sweaty, sick human humming and sucking on her fingers is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
I ignore the other eyes drilling through the back of my head. I have to.
"I will protect you, baby. Nothing will ever hurt you."
Then I start to cry.

Bahati Aimee, age 1 year

Monday, April 11, 2011

World Malaria Day - Get the coupon code for free shipping on Etsy Store

This young girl, with a child tied to her back, is grateful for a mosquito net. (photo credits Stacey Frumm, Think Humanity net distribution in Rwenyawawa Village, Kyangwali Refugee Camp, Uganda)

Think Humanity is preparing for World Malaria Day

April 25, 2011 and celebrating the many lives that have been saved from malaria!

15,000 bed nets have been given out so far, but many more are still needed.

On April 25, Think Humanity is observing World Malaria Day. This is also a chance for you to make a difference. Think Humanity has made progress on malaria prevention since 2007, but there is much more to do to stop the spread of this preventable and curable disease.

In the refugee camps where we have provided bed nets, the incidences of malaria have been reduced up to 93 percent! We still have many villages begging for nets. Our goal before July 2011 is to provide 3,000 nets to the community of Kitakara in Uganda. These people were displaced from the National Parks.

“A $5 donation will provide a long-lasting insecticide-treated bed net to a refugee child in Africa. The net will last up to five years and two or more children can share the net. These children will be protected from the mosquito carrying the disease that kills a child in sub-Saharan Africa every 30 seconds. Won’t you please lend a hand by donating a insecticide-treated bed net to a child today.”—Beth Heckel, Executive Director

Another way to help Think Humanity provide more bed nets is to join us on our Etsy Store for a World Malaria Day special. Use this coupon code between today and April 25 and receive free shipping. The code is “MALARIA.” In addition, we also have two bangles for the price of one. Check out our Etsy Store.

Think Humanity Etsy Store

A refugee child smiles when receiving a net from Think Humanity!
“Every 30 seconds a child under the age of five years old dies from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa”.-World Health Organization

“To help others should be a blessing not a burden. Be blessed!” – Beth

Protecting refugees from malaria, providing clean water and education are a few of the most concrete things we can do to lift refugees out of poverty. Please consider giving them this chance.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Think Humanity Etsy Store purchasing from refugees selling for refugees

Visit the Etsy Store