Imagine NO Malaria
By Rev. Kathy Crozier
Honestly, a few years ago I couldn’t imagine having malaria. I was excited about a mission trip to Liberia; eager to hear and see first hand about the challenges and faith journeys of people who had survived years of civil war. Of course I got all the recommended shots, and got my anti-malaria medication. And of course, while in Liberia, I took the medication as prescribed and slept under a mosquito net.
After a week in the country I was feeling pretty crummy. Unbeknownst to me, I was reacting to the anti-malaria medication. And that reaction was preventing it from working properly. But because of the not-quite-enough medication, when I was bitten by a malaria-carrying mosquito, the disease took an unuual turn and it took months to be properly diagnosed and treated.
As a result of damage done by the tiny parasites in my body, I have a very restricted and very complicated diet; it starts with no wheat and no dairy, which makes it quite impossible to eat at potlucks and completely rules out home made cookies (my personal favorite). I take many supplements and medications each day. I have gone from someone who took good health for granted to someone who struggles to follow the doctor’s orders and who frequently feels bad despite being as careful as I can. In addition I can only work part time.
My health (or lack thereof) is a bummer; but I think of the people I met in Liberia who also suffered from malaria. Many of them had previous infections from Malaria, and many of them had lost loved ones to the disease. One of the most memorable experiences of our time in Liberia was touring a hospital where there was no running water.
I have been blessed; blessed to have good health care, good insurance, and understanding employers. And now I am being blessed by the opportunity to help with the Imagine No Malaria ministry. I have gone from someone who could not imaging having malaria to one privileged to take part in Imagining No Malaria for a continent that suffers way more than I have from this devastating disease.
Indeed, if I had been asked a couple of years ago if I would be willing to live with the chronic effects of Malaria in order to truly understand the disease and to have passion for this ministry, I would have volunteered without hesitation.
We are privileged to take part in this grand endeavor; privileged to be called by God to fight this disease and care for the sick who are our neighbors, our brothers and sisters in Christ. May God indeed multiply our efforts and our witness so that all can see the Kingdom of God in action.